Flicker’s Lair Blog

New chicken accomodations

by Heidi on November 9th, 2009
(1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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You might say that we are bad losers, but we have had enough of being outsmarted by our chickens in the daily game of egg hide’n'seek. We’ve been finding so few that drastic measures were called for.

There is also the fact that we have had a couple of problems with Willow and Aspen forgetting that they are livestock guardians and that chickens are numbered amongst the livestock. The other week we found Willow with a chicken foot hanging out of her mouth (fortunately the chicken was already dead not maimed and suffering), the following day we found Aspen with a chicken, it was still alive but didn’t make it through the night.

"Who me?" - Willow the Maremma LGD

The problem with the dogs seems to be particularly focused on the smaller, younger chickens and the bantams. Since the summer we have lost seven chickens, including three of our bantams. As of last weekend we are pretty sure another of the bantams is gone and one of the remaining has lost all her tail feathers!

We had been considering re-housing the chickens and decided that we really needed to move this project up the task list. Our plan was to have a chicken ‘coop’ within the big barn to minimize their contact with the dogs by not giving them any reason to go into the fenced pasture where the dogs are. It will also give us a space that we can leave them shut in till later in the morning so as we have more of a chance of finding their eggs!

Last Sunday morning saw us outside Home Depot at 8am waiting for it to open! We needed to be there first thing as they have vans that can be borrowed but it is on a first come first served basis. What came as something of a surprise to us, when we got past the bizarreness of being outside Home Depot on a Sunday morning waiting for it to open, was that we were part of a group of at least 15 people stood outside the doors, and there were more hanging out in their cars!

We were through the checkout by 8:07am and all loaded in the van and on our way home by 8:22am! The rest of the day was spent sawing and hammering, resulting in the big barn being converted into three distinct spaces, with the middle being a new chicken coop. We had hoped to have it all finished, but the sun went down before we could put all the finishing touches to it.

New chicken accomodations Chantecler chicken at the feeder Old shelves make new nest boxes

During the week we didn’t have enough daylight hours to work on it, so we finished it off Saturday morning. They have new nest boxes made from an old set of shelves that were in the barn, and a selection of branches to use as perches.

Saturday evening saw us spending an hour trying to round up all of the chickens to get them in their new house. Some took quite a bit of convincing, and felt that really they would be better off roosting in the cedar hedge. Fortunately Dad was visiting so we had an extra pair of hands. We certainly earned our supper though!

"Where'd all the chickens go?" - Aspen the Maremma LGD

They will also be sharing the space with the ducks, which should allow us to have more luck finding duck eggs next year, and let us keep the ducks that choose to sit on eggs in a safe place. But I think we will wait to convince the ducks until we have reduced the numbers slightly, as I don’t fancy trying to herd 38 ducks into one place!

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(1 votes, average: 5.00 out of 5)
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