Monday, July 23, 2012


We love our chickens! Truly adore! They provide hours of entertainment, delicious eggs and just the right focus my family needed during our transition. We let them roam free. That has been part of the fun, most definitely. However, they've gotten adventurous with their foraging (our neighbors are mildly patient), they get crazy notions of where to lay eggs (oh Sweetie!), and they constantly dig up all of my flower beds around the house (frustrating beyond measure).

While we're in California we have a fantastic house sitter who will be loving them up (and Hickory, our cat), but keeping them free range felt like too much to ask. I've have grand schemes of elaborate new chicken yards with fancy fencing and elaborate gate systems, rotations in the orchard, and more. In the end, we threw something together lickety split that would give them more room and keep them from flying over the five foot side, as they are very adept at doing. I thought I could make it on my own, but it was my son (he's getting huge!) who really made it possible by getting in all of the steel posts and helping to roll out the heavy fencing. My daughter was the perfect distributor of twist ties. It was a family coop adventure the night before we departed, as a thunder storm rumbled in and the sun set. Good times, for sure!

Yes, that would be last night! We stretched standard bird netting (to keep birds off of fruit trees and out of gardens) over the top and we're crossing our fingers that they won't be too disgruntled and will adjust happily. Here they are as of this moment, in they're expansive new run! .
Those fancy coop dreams? Some day. My kids are super motivated to keep those girls (and boy) happy. They've been plotting a chicken playground, complete with forts and obstacle courses. We shall see...

I'll be sending you post cards from California now and then! Ready, set, go!
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  1. We just finished a "fancy" chicken run. We put a double fence around our garden - two fences four feet apart with that in-between part for the chickens. It's divided into two areas (one side of the garden or the other) so after they scratch one side down to the bare dirt we can move them into the other side and reseed the first with clover - their favorite treat. They love when we go out to weed and harvest - it's so easy to toss all the weeds and scraps in to them. :-)

  2. We are fairly new chicken parents, and I've been so worried about them at night now that they've moved outside. Our coop is enclosed, and the nesting box/smaller coop area where they go at night has a little sliding door with a ramp to get up to. The open area of the coop is enclosed, but we've been closing the little sliding door at night and opening it in the morning. We are going out of town for a weekend in August, and It'll be the first time we've left the chickens. I was thinking I could just leave the sliding door open while we're gone and leave extra food and water for them? Any advice you have for me would be much appreciated. Your chicken pen looks great, and I know the girls will be happy!

  3. Oh a chicken obstacle course sounds fun!
    Have a wonderful time in CA!
    Thinking of you...
    ~ joey ~

  4. I am so, so impressed with your children! You make a great team. Hope you have a marvelous time in California!

  5. It looks fantastic, they is something so great about doing a project together as a family team, isn't there. Great for the kids to get that sense of acheivement. What a great team leader you seem to be. And the chickens look happy too. Everybody wins !!!

  6. Good work kids! The run looks great.

    Your blog is so you have twitter or fb to follow with??

    If you want some décor inspiration from Sweden, check out my blog:)

    Have an awesome week.

    LOVE Maria at

  8. We're so envious of your chickens! Good job kids setting them up in their new digs. Enjoy California!

  9. Can't believe you did that the night before you went away, although of course you had to!! You have some good helpers there. We just got back from our four week 'home' visit to the Bay Area. Hope you see as much sunshine as we did.

  10. Several years ago my son decided "he" wanted chickens. My only stipulation was "no breeding and no butchering". Mind you I am or was a city girl growing up so sticking my hand in a coop to gather eggs was about as far as I would go with this adventure. He bought his first chicks from Baker Creek Seeds monthly festival, which we live about an hour from. Those darling sultans didn't last long. He did go thru some losses with chicks, chickens and a rooster. We or I should say "I" am down to 3 laying hens and I or we are happy with that number. My son is home visiting and hasn't surprised me with more chickens, thank goodness. He's the one that brings home the animals then moves away. I'm just fine with the dog and chickens he's left behind, us girls are doing just fine thank you very much. I just love giving farm fresh eggs to friends and family, especially when my little nephews come over and we go out to the coop to gather eggs that they get to take home with them. When my son left the chickens were free ranging, that changed rather quickly after having everything pooped on, flower gardens just torn up, eggs all over the place. So I bought a 10x10 chain link dog kennel, had my other son take off the back panel and build a BIG coop on the back. The top is covered with cattle panel fencing and a portion is covered with a tarp to shade my little darlings. There is plenty of room for the 3 hens and a dear friend gets such a laugh when I tell her I "the city girl" spent part of my day cleaning out the chicken coop and dog kennel. Worth every minute taking care of my ladies who provide such wonderful eggs. Enjoy yours as well.

  11. i love the idea of a chicken coop with a fort and obstacle course! thinking the chickens might enjoy it too ;-)



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