REMODELING THE CHICKEN COOP

June 5, 2011

Sunday
Linda

We have been wanting to redo the chicken coop for a while, but we just didn’t know the best way to go about it. I perused the internet, going from website to website and finally found some good ideas. We started work on it today, but still have a few things to button up before it is completely finished.

The design we had was not working out very well and we learned a few lessons. (1)Don’t put the roosting posts over the exit hatch. The chickens poop during the night and then walk through it as you let them out in the morning. You would think we would have thought of that before placing them there in the first place. It was a rookie farmer mistake. (2)Make sure your nesting boxes are big enough for the hen to sit in comfort. The hens didn’t seem to want to lay eggs in the ones we had because I believe they were too cramped, but I could be wrong. Instead they wanted to lay them in a corner under the nesting boxes. They had the right idea, just the wrong place. (3)Straw is not the best floor covering. Wood shavings seem to work better and stay cleaner, although we will continue to put straw in the nesting boxes.

We moved the nesting boxes from the far wall and hung them on the side wall. We removed three of the dividers that separated the individual boxes to make them roomier. Instead of six boxes we now have three which is plenty for the amount of hens using them. We also put a rail across the front for the hens to jump up on before getting in the boxes. Hopefully this will help clean their feet of some debris before settling in to lay their eggs.

Next we put the roosts over on the back wall where the nesting boxes had previously been. We made them from 2x4s and graduated them down like bleachers. These 2x4s are better than the 1x2s we originally had. The chickens won’t have to hang on and can rest on the roost flat footed. It seems like that would be more comfortable.

Remodeled Chicken Coop

We plan to build a box under the roosts which will be covered with chicken wire so the chickens can’t get down inside of it and scratch around. The waste will fall down into the wood shaving filled box, thus keeping the chickens from walking through it. Some people have the roosts on a hinge so that they can be lifted up and then clean out the box. We have limited room so I think we are going to have it designed with a removable door on the bottom.

Hopefully this will resolve some of the problems we have been having and the chickens will like the changes.
Note: Sonny and I just went out to close up the chickens for the night. When we went inside Roo Roo was up on the new roosts with three of the hens and the young pullets were running around in circles lost as to where they should sleep. We found two of the hens in the pole barn, one up on the tractor and the other one on a bale of straw. I can see this change may take some getting used to and could affect egg laying for a few days. We were able to catch the two confused hens and put them up on the roosts as well as the pullets. Hopefully everyone will now know where the new sleeping quarters are located.


THE SMELL OF HOME

June 3, 2011

Friday

Linda

Have you ever the seen the commercial that asks “What does your house smell like?” I think its an add for cat litter, but when you think about it each home does have its own distinct aromas or flavor if you will. You may not always notice it as you walk through the door after an exhausting day of school or work,(for me its day in town), but its there. Its behind the scenes as you give that sigh of relief and unload yourself of keys, purse, briefcase and uncomfortable shoes.

Everybody remembers the smell of the house they grew up in or their grandmothers house. Just a whiff of a particular scent can bring back a flood of feelings or memories. The smell of pipe smoke can give me an immediate feeling of comfort and calm and reminds me of my father who would often smoke a pipe in the evening. I can picture him now, relaxing in a lawn chair on the patio with tiny puffs of cavendish smoke rising from the bowl of his pipe. Sonny also indulges in a pipe at times and it always makes the house seem cozy and comfortable. My mothers roast in the oven on a Sunday is another nice memory that I will always carry with me.

Cozy and comfortable is our style at PHF. We love scented candles, pumpkin spice, vanilla, or honeysuckle, but the best scents are the ones left behind from a good meal (fish being the exception). This afternoon when we came home from town I stepped into the house and was greeted with the aroma left behind from the bacon we cooked this morning, a slight hint of perked coffee riding on its tails. Breathing in the deliciousness of it, I felt as though the house had wrapped around us and lovingly welcomed us home. It reminded us of the breakfast we shared together this morning. Its a simple thing, but a thing that should not be taken for granted.

Every season has its own scents at the PHF ┬áhouse. In spring its wild flowers and fresh breezes that blow through opened windows. Summer is vegetables from the garden and canning pots on the stove. Fall and winter are soup on the wood stove and home made bread. We do have our stinky moments though, usually because Ruby found something absolutely rank to rub her entire body in and thinks she needs to share it. Sometimes Sonny’s favorite dinner of Salmon patties leaves a less than desirable after aroma and the smells of living on a farm can often follow you into the mudroom. Thats life, sometimes it smells sweet and sometimes it stinks to high heaven.

Home… a place that represents each and every one of us, no matter wear we live. Its walls are imprinted with our lives… the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we said I love you to someone. The scents of life are there as well floating on a filmy mist of memory. What does your house smell like?

 


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