Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Cluck! Cluck! Cluck!

The new coop is complete and sort of fully inhabited.
The basement shelf converted to nesting boxes.
Pen 5, with another new nesting box.

These are two of my original hatchlings- a rooster and a hen.  The roo is too little to butcher just yet, but the hen makes me so happy!

She started laying about a week ago!  Delicious little mini eggs.  Most days I now find two eggs, one from her and one from one of the old girls. 
It turned out that the hard working hen is a red, with just an occasional egg from somebody else.  So occasional that I still don't know who the layer is! 

The meat hens are five months old now, and I keep hoping to see their first egg any day now.

So far, the chickens are keeping the new coop quite warm on their own.  So warm in fact, that I open the window up every morning to let it cool off a bit.  I'll be aiming for deep bedding for the winter as well.  Right now I stir the bedding up on Monday mornings and then add a bit of fresh bedding on top. 

Then I sprinkle a bit of loose mineral and some sandy/pebbly grit in as well. 

The new coop chickens are now eating sprouts exclusively.  Mostly barley, sometimes wheat when the feed store runs out of whole barley, and occasionally wild bird seed mix.  They all seem quite content and well. 

I don't have my fodder trays set up the way all the 'cool kids' are doing it now.  They all sit flat with multiple wholes for the water to drip through- just seed starting trays.  With our dry climate it grows more evenly this way rather than setting them on an angle.  I use drain (dish) boards below the plant stands, and then my next days' seeds soak in plastic dollar store window boxes as they catch the drips throughout the day.

It is a huge money saver on feed, and I wish that I had done it all summer at this scale, rather than just sprouting seeds as an occasional treat.

What is left of the meat roos get a mix of fodder and whole grain- they fight less when I can spread the feed out more. 


  1. I must start the sprouting for my hens. It all looks good the way you have it arranged. Two eggs a day? Well, that is something even though there are five of you. I am slowing down on the freezing eggs. I got off to a good start but fizzled for several reasons. Do you think that with a better house, warmer, that they will lay more this winter? Do you put a light in to come on in the mornings. I know they need dark, but was just wondering if they get a little extra light. You probably said and I forgot. Nice setup.

    1. Yeah, I was just thinking that that's actually up a bit in production. Once I figured out who the main layer was I stopped separating the hens looking for her. But she was only laying one egg every other day, so maybe one of the other old girls has just come out of moult? Hmmm... And the new girl is laying almost every day already.

      The rest of the young ones should just start laying soon, so we should be ok this winter. I don't know if we'll see many more improvements from the old girls as well. They may just be taking a break, or on much longer cycles. They may be coming out of moult- although they didn't have much feather loss. They might be done.

      I have a light on a timer, 14 hours a day. It comes on at 6am, which is about an hour earlier than sunrise right now, and off at 10pm. It's not terribly bright, nor well located at the moment though. I turn on the rest of the lights when I go out to do chores, and off again for night chores. So they have several hours of bright light, and a few hours of lower light.