Monday, October 21, 2013

Dressed for Success

It takes a certain type of attire to be comfortable with the not-so-charming duties of chicken raising, especially with winter approaching.  Here's a typical chicken-chore outfit at Red Door Coop.
The pièce de résistance for this Mama Hen are the boots.


Sunday, October 20, 2013

Hay is for Chickens

Papa Hen and I decided not to install a heat lamp in the coop.  Many chicken farmers have heat lamps to keep their birds toasty in the winter, and it works fine for them.  However, there are dangers in using heat lamps: 1.  it's a fire hazard and 2.  if the electricity goes out, the chickens don't stand a chance against cold temperatures because they are not acclimated.  The fact is that chickens can acclimate and withstand fairly cold temperatures.  Drafts and dampness are the things that can really get to them in cold weather.

Instead of a heat lamp, we are relying on insulation (silver Styrofoam pieces) inside the coop, thicker layers of pine shavings and straw, and bales of hay to keep the chickens warm.  If it gets really cold, we will put hot water bottles inside the coop overnight too.  Here, you can see how we have stacked bales of hay around the outside of the coop to keep out the drafts. 

A Morning Stroll

On this fall day we had a lovely sunny morning and a gray afternoon.  Before the gray skies and rain arrived, the Red Door Coop chickens enjoyed a stroll around the yard.

Who is that Masked Chicken?

At this time of year, with the temperatures starting to dip below 30 degrees at night, we take special care of the chickens.  One of the things that's got our friends laughing is that we apply vaseline to the chickens' combs at night.  The vaseline keeps the birds from getting frostbitten.  This is a real problem and so far the vaseline is working.  What vaseline doesn't do is make the chickens look good.  Not at all.  The application of vaseline on Fitz, Bill, and Bruiser hasn't been that obvious, just a slight darkening of the feathers around the comb.  For Lou, it's a different story.  I've taken to calling her Zorro because she is now, and will be for the rest of the winter, a masked chicken. 

Friday, October 18, 2013

Snowy Morning

Our view of the coop this morning:

Chickens Want In

I looked out the kitchen window yesterday evening and saw the chickens waiting by the back door.  They stood there for awhile. 
It hadn't even started snowing yet! 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Exploring the Shed

Papa Hen got to play at home today.  He scooped the coop, collected eggs, and slathered combs in vaseline to fight the cold.  He turned over mulch to reveal worms, he threw scratch and spinach to hungry chickens, and he allowed the birds to explore  the shed.

As far as we can tell, the chickens like the shed, but they prefer digging for worms in the yard!

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Red Door Coop Shed on the inside

For those of you waiting impatiently for interior pictures of the shed, wait no more!
That's the table going in.
That's a lot of chicken stuff on the left side of the shed. 
There's some gardening stuff on the right side.  
Was it all you hoped for?  Can you even believe we shared these unartistic pictures?  Such is the life of chicken farmers!

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Two Egg Trays

Thanks to Hen Family in Ohio for an additional egg tray.  We needed it!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Red Door Coop Gets a Shed

We've had some cold nights and cold mornings so we know that winter is approaching.  Papa Hen and I have been modifying the coop for winter.  Soon we will post pictures of our high-tech insulation methods!  For now, know that all of the chicken supplies will soon be stowed away in our latest addition.
A shed.  See that cute little red and white shed back there?  That's Red Door Coop Shed.  
The front.
The side.

Stay tuned for exciting interior shots of the new shed. 
And for another *don't miss post* -- How many bales of hay did they put in each stack?   

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Chicken Chasing

When the birds are out and about in the yard, it often becomes a bit of a chase to get them back into the coop.  On occasion, we like to chase them down for a good petting too!  Here's Fitz getting a rub down.
Then Lou stepped in for a little massage. 
Bruiser was hard to catch, but I got her. 
Then there's Bill, the evasive one.  I gave up on her. 

Balancing Act

When I peaked into the nesting boxes on Sunday to collect eggs, I was surprised to see Bruiser's regular spot (top left) empty.  Curious, I looked in the nesting box underneath and found nothing in there.  Then lo and behold, beyond that nesting box, balancing between the wall of the coop and a small bench was her cute little brown egg.
That's the view through the lower left nesting box.  
 Up close.
This is a view from the big coop door.  So here's the deal: Bruiser likes to lay her eggs in the top left nesting box...right near THE EDGE.  This time luck was not on her side (our side?) and the egg fell over the edge and landed where you see it.  Sadly, it cracked.  Off to the compost it went.