New Year's Cluck


I'm not a particularly superstitious person, but I do (kind of) believe that what one does on New Year's Day sets the tone for the rest of the year.

Today, we met some new neighbors (thanks to an online introduction by way of our neighborhood discussion group), and went to visit their chickens. Paul and Jamie (and their delightful children) keep seven hens in their back yard in East Oakland.

We've been trying to look at as many henhouses as we possibly can. We also want to ask chicken-keepers what they think they got right, and what they wish they had done differently. Robb's pretty certain of his design, but it helps to see coops in action.

Paul and Jamie are doing the "deep litter" method, and their hens were very clean. Robb and I had participated in chicken coop tours, but we figured that everyone tidied up like crazy for those events. It was good to see a normal set-up.

It's also nice to cuddle chickens. This is the super-relaxed Tiger Lily. She's a Barred Rock, a very chickeny chicken. Although I've done my share of carrying wild waterfowl, chickens are different. Part of it is body-configuration, and part is temperament. Tiger Lily just loved being petted. She settled into a sort of coma of bliss, and was a good sport about some wing-clipping.

Robb and I brought over a jar of our honey, and some fruit from our trees, and returned home with beautiful locally laid eggs.

You'd hardly think that we live in the middle of a huge city, would you?


Anonymous said…
Happy New Years, and Happy Chickens!

Oh dear, if that's true, then the tone I set today was pulling weeds and digging holes!!!

For the coop, IMO, you're definitely going about it the right way. I found books on coop design to be relatively useless when we designed ours, but seeing actual coops, in person more the better, was much more beneficial. Beyond the obvious size requirements, my three main requirements it easy to keep clean, is it easy to get to the eggs, and ultimately, is it secure? Of course, what's really important is that it fits, and suits your space. We've built three now (two portable, and one permanent). Each of them was designed differently, but each meets the needs of its resident hens (or rooster). I can't wait to see what Robb's come up with! :)
I think that pulling weeds and digging holes is very strong, metaphorically.
Nataline said…
omg, what kind of chickens are you going to get? I hope you get a silkie!!!!!
Anonymous said…
The barn I work at has 17 chickens-6 Heritage breeds. They are all wonderful with the clients (therapy chickens). You need to decided if you want to save breeds or have egg production. We have 5 pullets in the barn(to keep them warmer than the coop-feels like 3 degrees today) that will be better layers than the Heritage ones. We sell the eggs to benefit the therapy program.
Ali said…
Chickens! How exciting! I love our girls. Yes, by all means take a coop tour. I like our design, but can definitely think of a few improvements.

Things we haven't figured out: In a small space, where best to keep the round plastic feeder. Really, a half round would allow it to sit against the wall, saving floor space. Ditto the waterer. Ditto the oyster shell dispenser.

I also wish we'd planned for a droppings board. We use straw, which is more expensive than shavings, but it makes nicer compost. The droppings board would have made the straw bedding go a bit further.

Thanks for your kind invite for when we are in the area this summer. Dan and I would love to schedule a meet up! Right now it looks like we'll be at Sunset Beach SP July 5&6. We'd love any and all advice about what to see/do while in the area.

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