Friday, August 28, 2015

Our chicken coop

We have our pretty little chooks in the side yard. It's about 480 square feet (400' for the chooks to run around in, the other 80' or so has the turtle pond). It's surrounded on 2 sides by a 6' high corrugated steel fence. One of the other sides is the house and the final side is chain link facing the rest of the back yard. We enclosed the entire top of it in deer netting at 7'-8' feet high so nothing can get in from above. The bottom of the steel is buried several inches deep to keep out diggers.
The netting is the only new feature back there because it used to be our garden, then we had to move the turtle pond there and they ate most of the plants. So far the birds have stayed away from the pond, but it should be ok if they want to go in, there's lots of ledges for them to stand on and Freya, Odin, and the others won't hurt them.

Nice and cozy
The chooks house is 6' high, 6' wide, and 5' deep. It started out open on three sides, but we've added shade cloth to the sides for better protection from the sun and rain. The bottoms and tops of the sides are still open though to allow as much air flow as possible. We had a nesting box, but Ms. Fisher was sleeping in it so we now use it to hold the waterer. It works great and she now sleeps with the others.
The paint makes it easy to wipe down in the mornings. We left the perches bare for their comfort, paint would have made it slippery. 
Bed time is so cute, they all peep like baby chicks and try to cuddle under each others wings. That was what Bessie was doing when she was shoving everyone off the perches. They just want to snuggle even though it's hot out.

Clever food holder!

Nice water dispenser!
Alexis figured it out first.
My husband got the idea for these great food and water dispensers from Rob Bob's Backyard Farming. That site is great and I love the way he explains things. My chooks love the feeder, but we're still trying to teach them the waterer. I made the mistake of catching them and tapping their beaks on the nipples to try and show them. They hated that and ran from me for awhile afterward. I've since learned I shouldn't have chased them if I want them to be tamed. Now I make chucking noises as I make the nipples drip water, I hope they get it soon.
They have ice water in pans that they drink and splash in as well so they are doing well. We also have a mister system that they enjoy and I put ice packs in their bedding to help keep them cool.

Nice place to explore.
So far they seem happy. The heat doesn't seem to bother them much. They peck and scratch most of the day, Dot found several grubs today. Alexis stole the first one, The second one was to big so she threw it away and Kate ate it , then she finally got one. It was fun to watch them chase each other for the prize. 
They haven't gone past the small bush next to the tree yet, but they are still getting used to it here. They aren't tame yet, but they let me get closer each time I go out there. They have no problem touching me and hit me with their wings when they scratch around my feet. Alexis even rubbed against my leg yesterday and Kate sat on my shoe for a minute. I can't wait until they let me pet them and maybe hold them! I'm trying to be patient, but they are so cute.  



  1. What a fun experience for you guys! Yes, egg prices are up. I guess bird flu wiped out a lot of chickens, and we're seeing it at the grocery store. What a great coop, I love the feed and water dispensers.
    I guess Arizona winters don't get too cold? We have some neighbors with chickens, i think they have to heat the coop in winter.

    1. Thanks! The coop is great for the summer and we are building a walled one for winter. It doesn't get super cold here usually, but we want to be prepared. Right now I just don't want them to get to hot, it's supposed to be above 100 today.