Saturday, January 25, 2014

Chickens!! (Almost)

A dream of mine is quickly coming to reality! About 3 years ago I got a bee in my bonnet about wanting to keep chickens. The timing never was right until we moved into our current home - it came with a chicken coop. Could it have been any more perfect?

Every January, Washington experiences a very brief window of Spring-like weather and yesterday and today has probably been in the low 50's. It was enough to pull me out of my hibernation, get the kiddo outside and take a good look at our backyard that has been forgotten about for the last 4 months.

I decided that now is the time for me to begin our chicken journey. Am I crazy to start this endeavour when I am 4-6 weeks away from delivering Ruby? Maybe. But to be honest it won't be that hard or crazy because I've decided to start with poullets (adolescents), which will either be at the very start of their egg laying years or will come into that time once the weather warms up. No hatching eggs or keeping watch over a brood of cute fluffies. That can come when my girls are old enough to appreciate it!

Today I spent a good part of the afternoon cleaning out our coop. There was still old bedding and manure leftover from the previous inhabitants so I grabbed a shovel and a rake and got to work. A part of me is really wary - could this burst of energy be thanks to some extra Vitamin D or is Baby Ruby going to make her appearance soon? Hopefully not - my goal is to keep that little girl safe and sound inside until no less than 37 weeks, otherwise the birth center delivery that I have been planning on will not be an option.

In a very short amount of time I was left with this honestly quite glorious pile of organic matter that needed some attending to. My raised beds are still full of weeds and I didn't want to ask Adam to schlep the manure over to them only to have it all lay there for who knows how long (and increase the likelihood of Squirt rolling around in it). So I walked over to one of the families that we've gotten to know in the last couple months and asked them if they were interested in manure (kind of an awkward conversation - hey, how are you, so do you want some poop?). As it turns out they have a very successful vegetable garden and would LOVE my old poop. The mama sent over her two boys who loaded it all up, cleaned out the rest of my coop for me and that was that. Score! I look forward to trading poop for veggies this summer :)

The coop was left with pretty much all the supplies I need - milk crates for nesting boxes, a feeder and two watering thingys. All I need is bedding, food and .. chickens, of course!

I got connected with a sweet gal married a college acquaintance and we got to talking chickens for hours this week via facebook. She has been so helpful and I'm excited to have someone to talk chickens with as I begin my journey. I called around and have been connected with a farmer a little north of us who sells poullets and next Saturday Adam will be picking up 3 ladies for me (Barred Rocks) and the adventure will truly begin!

Here's what we're starting out with. You will never see it featured on Pinterest, but is structurally sound. I've got ideas on a chicken coop Pinterest board for when we have less projects on our to-do list. But for now it will suit its purpose.


  1. What a great project! I've wanted to keep chickens, but am waiting until we're settled to start (and have neighbors that are able to care for them while we're away). Good luck with your chickens!

  2. How exciting! I can't wait till we can have chickens of our own. We're hoping to start meat rabbits within the next year to help cut down on our cost of meat from the store. I've already cut it down by 25% using elk and deer from hunting season.

  3. My sister has 17 laying hens in her hobby farm. They haven't been laying as well this winter but I loved getting fresh farm eggs from her. My nieces sell the eggs to help get them to summer camp.

  4. I am so jealous! My husband and I have wanted to get some chickens for quite some time. We thought that when we bought our first home that we would be able to. Unfortunately, our home did not come with enough land to house them. My mom lives only 15 minutes away and she has land and a place to build a coup but with soon-to-be 3 kids 3 and under (my due date is in 2 weeks!) I do not want to have to go over there every day. But I am excited for you and this new endeavor!

    1. I feel ya, mama! I've got #2 due in around 4 weeks and that's why I want to start out with adolescents :) Chicks are easier to find, but I just don't have the time and energy for more babies!

  5. I hope we can eventually keep our own chickens, what a fun project! I agree that being able to access the nesting box without going inside would be a big time saver.

  6. Oh and looks where you are now!! With your whole brood of chickens :)

  7. we'd love to do a coop for chickens, maybe at our next house.



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