Chicken names

All of our new chickens are different breeds or colors, so we can tell them apart (mostly; see below). Thus, we can, and have, given each of them names.

Here are pictures of each, with their name and breed. Click the link on the breed to learn more about each. Most will lay brown eggs, but I’ve noted exceptions. They aren’t fully grown, and haven’t started laying yet, but they’re not too far off.

I’ve mentioned Merida before; named so because she is the bravest chicken. She is a White Plymouth Rock:

Another super-friendly one that I’ve named previously is Domino. She is a Dominique (yes, several of the names are highly imaginative):

This is Babe, a Buff Brahma — she’ll be a big girl:

This is Kiwi, a Speckled Sussex, named because she looked kinda like a kiwi bird when she was a chick, though less so now that her tail feathers are developing:

This is Tilly, a Double Laced Barnevelder:

Go on patrol with Buffy, a Buff Orpington:

Mo was named for her upright head feathers; she’s a Cream Legbar, and will have light blue eggs:

Lola is a Blue Cochin, with impressively fluffy feet, and will be very large. She has the nickname “Butthurt”, as she had a prolapsed vent as a baby chick:

Goldie is a Golden Laced Wyandotte, who also had a health issue as a chick, this time a “wry neck”, but fully recovered after treatment:

Say hi to Silver, a Silver Laced Wyandotte:

Meet Blondie. She is one of our three Ameraucanas, and will lay light blue eggs in due course:

Flo is another Ameraucana, also with blue eggs:

Martha is a Blue Ameraucana:

This is Camilla, an Easter Egger, who may lay blue or green eggs:

These two are trickier; one is Willow, and the other is Dot. One is an Australorp, and the other is a Black Jersey Giant. But it’s really hard to tell them apart at present; they used to be more different, and will be later, but right now they look pretty much identical to us:

Finally, here are the old girls. They are Rhode Island Reds (which occasionally lay brown eggs, but have slowed way down), and Brown Leghorns (which lay white eggs). But they don’t have names, since we can’t tell them apart:

Chicken coop: nesting boxes

One of the last steps on building the new chicken coop is making the nesting boxes. 

Rather than just buying plastic boxes like in the old coop, I wanted to make custom roll-out boxes, where the eggs roll down a gentle slope to a collection area after being laid. This will not only make gathering the eggs easier, it’ll also keep them cleaner, and reduce the risk of breakages (or chickens eating the eggs, which can happen if they get a taste for them).

When I built the coop, I allowed for this with double doors below the front window, but I didn’t bother to build the nesting boxes before the chicks moved in, since they wouldn’t be laying for a few months. But they’re not too far away from being old enough now — their first eggs will likely arrive sometime over the next few weeks. So it’s time to make the boxes.

First up, I removed the temporary panel in the internal wall:

Then built the side walls:

A floor:

Another floor:

A step in front of the middle floor (as modeled by Merida), and a roost in front of the window, so the chickens can look out:

Partitions:

Ramps in each nesting box, and fencing wire below the window roost, to keep them off the poop tray below the roost (and keep them from getting out the doors when opened):

The view from outside the coop, showing the egg collection area:

This concludes the construction of the nesting boxes, though they will have some finishing touches — nesting pads, liners, padding, and perhaps even curtains. Stay tuned for further adventures!

Chickens meet & greet

Our older chickens (far side) and newer chickens (this side) start getting to know each other through the fence.

In due course, we want the two flocks to merge, but that may take a while, with much negotiation about the new pecking order, once we let them interact without a barrier. In the meantime, this is a beginning.

Chicken run: now open!

This morning I finished the new chicken run fencing, and installed the automatic pop door opener (with a little help from Domino), enabling the chickens to access the run:

The opener is mounted to a small door, so it can be accessed from inside the coop:

Here’s the pop door open for the first time, much to the chickies surprise:

Outside the coop, the opener is behind a window, so the light sensor can work:

Here’s inside:

And a close-up:

Chickies peeking out of the pop door:

Unsurprisingly, our bravest new chicken, imaginatively named Merida after the Pixar movie character, was the first to leave the coop to the newly fenced chicken run (YouTube video):

Followed by Domino:

And a few others:

But some weren’t yet brave enough:

Good thing it was a bit cloudy this morning; once the sun came out, they were all much more reluctant to leave the coop.

Chicken run: fencing wire

Over the last few mornings I’ve been attaching 14-gauge welded wire fencing to the chicken run framing:

The lower course flares out a little below ground level, to prevent animals from digging under the fence:

Fenced gates:

From inside:

And outside:

A close-up of a U-shaped nail (for once nailed by hand, instead of using the air nailer):

I cleared out the run, in preparation for chickens gaining access soon:

And added a little temporary shade:

Chicken run: gates

You know when you have big gaps in fences, intended for people to go through? Traditionally those are filled with gates. Call me crazy, but that seems a useful idea.

So, over the last couple of days I built gates for the chicken run; a small one for people to go through, and a big double gate for vehicle access.

Here’s the small gate, after being built:

Wondering about the bit at the bottom? Here’s the gate installed, so you can see why; it’s to allow for the bottom board of the fence when mounting the hinges:

The view from inside the run:

Next up, the big gate. Here’s one side assembled, but not yet mounted:

And both sides installed:

From another angle:

And from inside:

Open:

Next up: installing the fencing wire!

Chicken run: remaining framing

Back to work on the chicken run, after the festivities of the weekend (and thanks for all the kind words about the coop).

Yesterday I installed one of the posts and horizontal beams for the small gate west of the coop:

Then today I did the couple of posts and beams on the other side of the gate:

And added a sill below both gate openings; the small gate as above, and the big gate: