My husband and I were married for many years before he finally agreed to get some chickens. Our daughter was in Kindergarten (now rising into 7th grade) and the timing was perfect. She was old enough to enjoy the hens and gather the eggs. It was a match made in chicken heaven!
We had the perfect run for them too. It was really spacious with a row of built in nests. We enclosed the side of an old garage, so it had three walls of wood with a long wall of fence for them to enjoy being outside. We carried the run out beyond the walls and fenced over the top of it as well. They had a palace for sure!
Here is a photo of their digs from an old blog post:
They seemed very happy! The girls took lovely dust baths in the nice soil and all went well for years. Then we added a cool runner behind this building and connected them to another area that was fenced in with a coop inside.
I share this to say that my hens (and then later chicks) had it pretty good. They free ranged during the day and then had this hotel at night. They were blessed. One fourth of July my family was out of town, only to discover that something found our flock and killed every chicken except for one traumatized Americauna (who knew how to fly better than the rest). I was out of the chicken business for a couple of years and decided I wouldn’t buy more until we had relocated to our new farm.
Out of nowhere I received a call last year from a lady whose HOA discovered she was housing 7 hens. She had to re-home them ASAP. I wasn’t prepared to take on a flock again, but I agreed. We welcomed: Aurora, Jasmine, Olive, Violet, Pecky Becky, Lucy and Ethel. The guys building our new barn at the “new” farm just threw a coop together for me on the side. I was less than impressed with it, but it was functional and I was grateful to have a place to put them.
I had all of my feeders and nests from the old place, but the ground was hard and full of gravel. I had raked out a lot the gravel over the couple of months that we have been here, but it was a sad sight for sure. I saw the hens taking dust baths, but I never saw them resting on the ground. NEVER. In this picture, the dark soil is from the rain water that seeped under the wall. Sigh. If you haven’t had a whiff of wet chicken poop, you haven’t lived! There are no words! Wet poop, then wet food that they knock out of their feeders … a true experience for your nose!
Yesterday, though it was 90 degrees, I decided ENOUGH WAS ENOUGH! My sweet husband brought me a load of sand and I immediately got to work!
I put on my chicken sloggers and …
…. this happened! This was before I even completed the job. VERY HAPPY HENS!
Suddenly, in the 90 degree afternoon, they began to lie down in front of the fans and take a nap. It was the sweetest thing I had ever witnessed with them.
These are our chicks (I guess pullets now) that were born at Easter. They all huddled together by the fan and took a nap.
Then I noticed the hens resting on the ground! Trust me, they NEVER did this before. It blessed me so much to see them happy and content.
My next plan that I’m working on is DOUBLING the size of the run and placing an actual coop inside of the next section (so the girls can be out of the wind in the winter months).
My friend Corrie with CoCo Farm (you will want to check her out) is going to help me extend the run and these are her scribbles of what is to come.
I am creating a new dust bath area for the girls too — though they are loving this sand! I will show you when that takes place. Oh, and to hopefully get a jump start on the summer flies, I planted lemon grass, sweet basil and lavender in front of their run. I hope it isn’t too much sun for them to flourish. I’ll update when the chicken coop is complete! I am so excited!
Thanks for visiting and I hope to see you again soon!
The Chicken Lady