Chicken Coop Update: We Have Walls!

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Ed has been working so hard on this chicken coop!  Check out my first post here about this amazing news!  We are still gathering and soaking in as much information as possible.  Over the last few Saturdays, Ed dug trenches (with a little help from those hard-working guys outside of Home Depot), installed framing, cement blocks, part of the wood siding, the base of the coop interior, frame and installed 2 of our vintage windows, and installed 1 vintage screen door.

Here are some chicken related questions with been wondering about, as well as some things we are learning (PLEASE SHARE YOUR CHICKEN KNOWLEDGE BELOW!):

Do we want to throw a Thanksgiving turkey in the coop and will he get along with the chickens? Not sure if we would be taking on too much with that one.

Where to buy our chickens? I’ve found some local hatcheries here in San Diego.  It’s really important to me that they eat good food from the minute they’re born.  Why else would we be raising them, right?

What should we feed them? After looking at loads and loads of websites and local store options for feed, I’ve concluded that I will be making my chicken feed and scratch, among other things.  Sheesh.  I don’t know why I’m surprised.  Chicken feed, even organic, is FULL of corn and fillers.  What’s the point?  Everything I’ve read says feed chickens corn as a treat and yet it’s the first ingredient on every bag I look at.  This is not ok therefore I am searching for balanced recipes.  This one looks perfect and well researched. Recipes?

How to keep pests away?  I am searching for the right kind of containers to store food in to keep rats and moths away.  HELP!

How do I take care of these little ladies?  Right now, we are reading, having the kids read, and are reading to the kids, “A Chicken In Every Yard”, “The Backyard Homestead Guide to Raising Farm Animals”, and “Farm Anotomy” to gather information! Favorite books?

What is the best way to reap the benefits of chicken poop?  I currently have to buy chicken fertilizer for my garden so I’m searching for the right kinds of cleanup methods that are best for getting the most out of chicken droppings.  Hey.  Nothing wasted, right?

Names!!  I think it’s safe to say that every one of us is excited about naming these ladies!  I’m expecting names that reflect Star Wars, book characters, hilarity, and maybe something slightly inappropriate coming from my husband.  We are splitting them up to name them so everyone will have their chance to pick!

To follow the every day chicken and backyard homesteading adventures, follow us on Instagram.

PLEASE share anything you’ve learned below!

Here’s the coop progress by the man who is constantly surprising me with making my dreams coming true…even chicken dreams…

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15 comments to Chicken Coop Update: We Have Walls!

  • Shannon

    Hi! Your coop is coming along GREAT! We compost our chicken coop. We started out using shavings but shavings build up much faster than the poop and it was so dusty! Chickens have very sensitive respiratory systems so I didn’t feel it was the best thing for them. We have since switch to straw and I feel it is breaking down fairly well in our compost. We Just use metal galvanized cans in the backyard. Like this http://farmhouse38.wordpress.com/2013/01/11/bring-on-the-compost/. Another great blog for raising chickens naturally is http://www.fresh-eggs-daily.com I hope this helps some. :) It seems like a lot of work in the beginning trying to figure it all out but really chicken keeping is fairly simple, and lots of rewards!

    • Bon

      Thanks so much, Shannon!! I was wondering about the straw breaking down! How long does it usually take to be garden ready…or maybe I should just check out those links. haha.

      • Shannon

        I would say it depends on your green to brown ratio, and also how many chickens you have. We have 8, however she only has 4. It’s three cans set up, and the first one is supposed to be ready by the time the third one is full. But, if you have more chickens, the bins will fill up faster. We’re still on our first bin but I turned it today and it went down 1/4 of the way down the can. And we’ve been doing this system for about a week. (Newbies to this compost routine). Like straw is breaking down a lot faster than shavings. We have a can of shavings filled and it is taking MONTHS to break down! :/

  • Amy @Lucky Number13

    how exciting! my daughter’s kindergarten class just hatched chicks last week and now seeing this makes me really want chickens at home… my husband has been wanting them for quite a while. i can’t wait to see your coop when it is finished!

  • Cara Yeh

    Me, again. :) Your coop looks awesome! Ironically, my husband is sitting next to me designing our new coop, and I just showed him yours. His comment; “Wow. That guy knows what he’s doing!” One thing about food storage — it is so convenient to have it built right into your coop so you don’t have to lug it anywhere. I don’t really have any good tips for you about getting chicks. We bought ours from our local feed store here in Rancho Cucamonga. We also buy our organic feed here. The chickens get our watermelon rinds and apple cores and such, as well. They love them. To be honest, I haven’t really looked into what their organic feed consists of. Good luck!

  • Morgan

    Love finding other San Diego bloggers! Here’s a little on our adventure with city chicks ;): http://www.pepperdesignblog.com/tag/chickens/

    Looking forward to hearing how yours goes!

  • Salla

    Yay! We just got our chicks over a month ago. As for pests I heard hanging lavender or clipping it into the bedding keeps away mites & more. Adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar into their water helps keep germs at bay and is good for their general health. Do not feed them potato scraps and daffodils. I don’t think a turkey would do well with them . We don’t use their poo yet. There is some concern of their guts bring more succeotable to worms(?) but the aquaponic farm has them roost over milk crates, the poo slips through the cracks right into water for the fish farm… Also, egg shell grit is just as fine as any shell grit

  • Linsey

    Hi!!
    I’m a chicken lover/raiser from Tennessee. We’ve had up to 50 chickens and ducks at once on our farm. About the turkey question, a turkey with your chickens (once they’re older) would be fine. Be warned, turkeys can be extremely loud compared to chickens! On the plus side, they can both eat the same feed, especially if you’re making your own! Y’all’s coop looks amazing!
    We either get our new chicks from other local farms that have specific breeds or from our local Tractor Supply’s mail order. The chicks are mailed as soon as they hatch and arrive at your door within the first 24 hours of their lives. The chicks eat their amniotic sac, and the nutrients from that will sustain them for at least that 24 period.
    We store our food in feed storage tins. They’re basically 3 feet tall metal garbage cans.
    Hands down the best and most enjoyable book, that I still go back to is “Chick Days” by Jenna Woginrich! I always have “Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens” handy, too. It is very technical, but is chalked full of amazing and useful information for just about ANYTHING you might run across.
    Good luck with your girls! Remember, chickens are the gateway animal into farming and a self sustaining life! We first got chickens 3 years ago, and now we have goats with goals of next year adding cows!

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