23 April 2012

Taking Part in the Hen House Hop


Today I'm taking part in Deborah Jean's Hen House Hop
and the Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways link party.
This post is sure to be long as I'm going to go waaaay back to the beginning.

I grew up on a big farm but, being the youngest of 7, I caught it
kind of toward the end, you might say.  When I entered my teen years, 
the city was creeping closer.   My dad had fought a hard battle with cancer
and won--temporarily.  My siblings had all moved away and no one was left
to take over a farm that had been in my family for 100+ years.
It was just getting time to cut back.

Today, I'm glad my dad isn't here to see the houses move in on
his ground.  He never could handle trespassers!  And he hated to see good 
ground being trampled and hardened, making it less-suitable for growing.

What I do wish my dad could see is what we have done
with the few little acres that my husband and I purchased--
keeping it in the family for at least one more generation. 

We don't have wheat, milo or soybeans.  We did keep the orchard
and have a decent garden.  No tractors or combines, no cows or pigs,
not even the barn remains.  But we do have chickens!

About 8 years ago, I made the decision to raise laying hens.
 I'd read so much about the eggs; of all the amazing health benefits, it
was the omega fats that really caught my attention.  As someone
who really strives, and enjoys, to cook and bake with fresh ingredients, 
I already knew what a "real" egg can do in the kitchen.  
And I remembered from my farm girl days the benefits of having
little "garbage disposals" and "fertilizer factories".  
Overall, chickens seemed to be a perfect fit for the healthy, natural
and stewardship ways of living we were working toward.

To fill in anything I didn't know, I picked up Storey's Guide to
Raising Chickens and read it cover to cover.  It still sits on my book
shelves today and I recommend it to anyone thinking of raising chickens.

(inside the coop after it was moved  recently--chicken run under construction)

My talented dh designed and built our coop and, other than
some mishaps with coyotes, inconsiderate neighbors' loose dogs
 and other critters, we've been enjoying fresh eggs ever since.

We've always had Reds but this year, I ordered 5 Barred Rocks and
5 Buff Orpingtons.  They're growing strong and should be laying by fall.

(prepping for the move--digging away the years)
Another change around here:  we've moved the coop
about 30 feet to the other side of my garden.  It's insanely heavy
so it was a very big deal but so worth it. 

Now my girls finally
have a chicken run!  I've added some shrubberies to help
with the north wind when the winters hit.

The run is working out very well for transitioning to new hens.
Right now the little ones are in the "upper" inside coop
 with a heat lamp at night.

The bigger ones stay down below but have perches up inside. 
(I've closed off the door to the inside to keep everyone seperate)
Please ignore my crazy temporary "redneck chicken nesting box."
Because they'd been "kicked out", I had to give the ladies 
something...and this is what I found.   A lovely old drawer. 

Again, it's temporary!  They don't seem to mind at all--
and we've all enjoyed a good laugh.

For now, they get seperate "recesses" out in the run.  We're trying
to have fresh eggs as long as possible.  But when the chicks are
just too...er...cooped up, they'll have to be given the rest of the coop.
And then, I'm afraid....

Poor Hepzibah.  She just can't figure out what this stump is for.
I'm sure you farm girls out there know!

Thank you for stopping in and allowing me to share our hen house
and its story!

 Also linked to: 


The Nifty Stitcher said...

Cheree - that is the cutest hen house I've ever seen. You are so lucky. Thanks for sharing -I really enjoyed this post.

Katy Cameron said...

Oh my, poor Hepsibah! Coq au vin?

Debbie said...

I am not a farm girl, but I remember my Grandmother's stump. I used to gather eggs for her, but run away from the rooster.

Unknown said...

I love it all! The story, your girls and your coop and the new run! Beautiful! Thank you for sharing this post on the Hen House Hop!

Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick said...

Hello, new follower here and I’d like to invite you to join me at my weekly Clever Chicks Blog Hop:


I hope you can make it!


Kathy Shea Mormino

The Chicken Chick

I really enjoy comments and usually respond to all. Please follow away, visit often and let me know your thoughts. This blog is only to keep a personal record of my creative side. I may occasionally accept products to review but I do not collect anything else for this blog, especially not cookies or email addresses.

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