- Pets and Animals
Backyard Chicken Keeping
Chickens, Coops, Hens and Eggs
A current trend is to move away from the sterile exotic lawn landscapes and move back towards useful, food producing yards. With that, the reappearance of chickens in the backyard naturally follows. All over North America, peeps are building coops and chicken tractors for hens that will lay healthy, "home grown" eggs.
And where can you find up-to-date information about building chicken coops and caring for baby chicks and hens? Why, on Hubpages, of course. I've searched for all sorts of chicken related information from how to build a chicken coop to backyard chickens.
We have also joined the ranks of those who keep chickens. We were given 6 baby Ameraucana pullets and you can follow their progress through our pages.
Our Ameraucana Pullets
We have added another aspect of permaculture to our property. A good friend gave us 6 Ameraucana pullets, which are hybrid (Auracana x American) chickens that will lay blue or green eggs. We have been researching the art of raising chickens and have found many references about building coops and about laying hens on Twitter.
We have decided to build a movable coop (some call a chicken tractor) for our little flock. When they are 6 weeks old, they will have feathers and can be moved into the outside coop. Since we have many predators, we will have to make their coop very secure.
The chicken tractor will be placed inside the fenced garden, in the back where a compost pile was started. There is some shade there, so the hens will be able to get out of the sun and they will fertilize and work the soil in that area. In a few months, we'll move the coop to another location.
Ameraucana Chicks from 3 weeks to.... - Click on the small photos to enlarge them & to read the captions.Click thumbnail to view full-size
Guide to Raising Chickens
Storey's guide to Raising Chickens covers care, feeding and facilities, plus other chicken related issues. It is a good book for beginners.
Path to Freedom - City Chickens
This book has dozens of designs for chicken coops, everything from chicken tractors and A-frames to large structures. If you'd like to build your own hen house, this is the book for you.
Automatic Waterer is a MUST
Filling water containers twice a day for 6 almost grown chickens is getting to be a pain, so we have gone automatic. By hooking the stainless steel water bowl to a garden house and securing it so that the chickens can't knock it over, our chicken chores have been cut in half. All we have to do now is check to make sure that it is functioning correctly and rinse it out when it gets dirty.
Almost 4 Months Old and One Crowed
Our 6 baby chicks have grown into strong healthy chickens. They were guaranteed to be pullets (hens), with a 10% chance of a rooster. As we watched them grow, 2 of the little darlings acted very rooster-like with mock battles and circling when they were very young.
Now that they are about 4 months old, the 2 red ones, that used to spar off as chicks are looking more and more suspicious. In fact, a week or so ago, I heard a strange sound. At first I thought that one of the distant neighbors' small dogs was howling in an odd way. After listening for a while, I heard the noise again and realized that one of the supposed hens was crowing, rather badly, I might add.
We were told by the experts that some hens do crow. An old man at the feed store told us that his father would kill any hen that crowed. That his father didn't want any mannish hen in his hen house. Gotta love country folk.
We're pretty sure that at least one (and maybe both) of the larger red chickens is a rooster. Killing one for Sunday dinner is not an option as they have become pets. If both of the red ones are roosters, we'll just have to come up with another plan so that they don't fight in the movable coop.
Oh, the trials and tribulations of keeping chickens. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the guest book below.
Backyard hens provide rich manure for the garden.
Our hens are mature and lay 2-3 colorful eggs each day. We eat as many as we can and still have enough for friends and family.
The pumpkin and squash in the foreground are large and lush because they are growing in the section of the garden where the chicken coop was located during winter. When we moved the coop, we shoveled the top layer of fresh manure and straw into a pile in a low part of the garden and turned over the remaining soil with a shovel.
Squash and pumpkins love manure rich compost in the soil. These are the largest and best producing plants that we have grown in a many years. Hooray, for the hens.
If you'd like to learn more about keeping chickens, here are some wonderful articles to read.
Here, Chick, Chick, Chick
- Our Urban Chicken Coop: Raising Backyard Chickens For Homegrown Eggs
Tips on raising backyard chickens for eggs that are healthy and taste great. There really is a difference between the fresh eggs from your own backyard flock of chickens, and eggs from the store
- Chicken Coop and Greenhouse Construction
The three Ameraucana hens needed a new, larger coop and I wanted a greenhouse with a sink, so my neighbor, Shawn Thompson, who is an excellent carpenter and all around handyman, designed and built my chicken chateau and greenhouse duplex. Now the...
- Our Ameraucana Chickens
Ameraucana chickens are a good choice for keeping laying hens in suburban yards. Here you'll find photos and information about raising and housing a small flock from chick to layer.
© 2009 Yvonne L. B.