I know. I take way too many photos of my chickens. I just love them, though. I like to spend time just watching them. They are everywhere, even when the weather is this cold. No matter which direction I look, there is a bunch of chickens hanging out there, too. Yup, that way too. We have a dozen roosters, and each one has a harem. Sometimes several groups will hang out together, but most often, it’s just one rooster with a dozen or so hens.
The main chicken coop houses about half of them these days. This coop was here when we moved here last year, but the roof leaked horribly and the whole thing is quite rickety, but we’ve patched it up quite a bit. These are the ones I call the good ones, who voluntarily go into the coop every evening. We don’t feed them or give them water there, though, because it’s just too hard in the winter for us to reliably get up there hauling water. The slope is very steep, there’s nothing to grab on to. So they have to venture out to eat and drink. This crew also goes over to the compost pile several times a day to see what’s new there. Buffy is often tethered near here, and her Purple Pyr Palace is close by so she can guard them.
There’s another batch that hang out in one of the barn stalls with Maggie. We’ve put a ton of roosts in there, all along the sides of the stall. There’s lots of bedding in there, quite deep, and we feed them in there. Quite a few batches of birds that I hatched over the year were raised in here, so these birds are quite bonded to this barn stall, and now that we have doors on the side to close it in, it’s quite dry and warm there this winter. Last year, without the doors, no one could stay there because it was too cold, so I’m really glad we got that done. The chicken coop is just too small for the number of birds that we have.
Then we have what we call “the little coop”. I picked up this one off of craigslist for $100 early last summer and it has served us very well. I raised several batches of young chicks there, and then moved them to the barn stall once they were old enough to integrate with the rest of the flock. The last batch of birds in there was the crew I got from Berrytangle, and they are still there, though they do spend the days out and about lately, slowly becoming part of the larger flock. They still go back there at night, and we feed them down below. We sometimes give them there own water, too, but there’s not a heater, so it often freezes to the ground and they have to go get their water with the birds near them in the barn stall.
Then we have the naughty chickens, the ones sleeping in unauthorized locations that I haven’t caught and trimmed wings yet. There’s about a dozen living in a brush pile just outside the fence, near Maggie. They are going to be hard to catch, just because it’s icy and steep to even get to them, so we are picking them off one by one as they come down to eat or lay eggs.
There are still a dozen or so in the middle barn stall that are a bit easier to catch if we manage to stay awake late enough. We’ve been getting a few each week, clipping wings, tossing them into the approved stall with Maggie. Some of these girls are laying in the barn loft, and when we feed the bunnies up there, can sometimes manage to catch one or two and clip wings.
The plan is that I have to have everyone locked in for our next NPIP inspection on May 1st. Plenty of time, plenty of time. Right? Right. Ha.