Chickens

It’s been a few months since I last posted photos of our chickens… so enjoy!

Buffy enjoying some kale from our veggie garden:

Kiwi:

Silver (and some others in the old run):

Kiwi, Merida (chicken butt!), Camilla, and Domino:

Goldie:

Domino:

Buffy and Merida:

That’s not all of our chickens, but the less shy ones.

Chicken grazing box repair

Believe it or not, we have more than just feral cats at the homestead, despite them being a popular topic of my blog posts.

We also have chickens, and I recently did a minor repair of their grazing box. This is a wood and hardware cloth (wire) cover over some grass, to enable the grass to grow without being pecked to the ground by the chickens. They can nibble on the tips that grow above the wire.

Some of the wires had come loose at one end:

So I snipped off that panel and replaced it with fresh hardware cloth, nailed down with U-shaped nails:

Here’s the whole thing:

Just a simple little repair.

Chicken coop pop door opener

Recently the pop door opener for the old chicken coop stopped working. The pop door is the small door that enables the chickens to go from the coop to their run. It has a door that slides closed at night (on a light sensor), and open in the morning.

So, I purchased a replacement.

One likely factor in the failure of the old opener was that the cord went through the wall then horizontal then vertical, via three pulleys. This complicated system would have put more strain on the motor. Plus, I had a fairly heavy pop door. Here’s the old system, when it was first installed (in January 2016; wow, seems much longer ago):

So in addition to replacing the opener, I simplified the cord system. It still goes through the wall, since the light sensor needs to be outside, but there are now only two pulleys, on a more direct path. Here’s the inside of the new opener, and the pulley above the hole in the wall:

The opener control panel, awaiting installation:

Installed control panel:

On the inside, the hole and second pulley:

The cord now goes straight down from the hole:

The wooden door is also more lightweight now; thick plywood instead of solid wood. Not quite as secure, but should still suffice.

I expect this new setup should last much longer.

Backyard Poultry magazine article

I wrote an article that appeared in the October/November 2018 issue of Backyard Poultry magazine, describing the chicken coop I designed and built last year.

The article covers six pages, most of it my photos. There’s an excerpt available online, but the article is only available to subscribers of the magazine.

You can see more of the coop on the Yellow Cottage Homestead blog; if you prefer, you can filter to see only chicken-related posts, or alternatively look at only posts about the chicken coop.

Collecting eggs

One of my daily routines is to collect eggs from the two chicken coops.

Some of the chickens lay in the nice roll-out boxes I built in the new coop, where the eggs roll down a gentle slope for easy collection from outside the coop:

But most of them seem to prefer to lay in the boxes (or floor!) of the old coop. Here are some eggs under Martha, who has been feeling broody for a while:

And in another box:

I collect them in a plastic carrier that holds a dozen, though sometimes I have 13 or more:

I bring them inside, and put them into egg cartons. A tip: I put them small-end first, which makes them stay fresh longer, as the air bubble remains at the top:

Here’s a closer view of a carton, with a custom stamp for our Yellow Cottage Homestead, and a date stamp:

I don’t wash the eggs; the bloom on them also helps keep them fresh. When it’s time to use them, I simply wash them then (in warm water; cold would draw any bacteria into the egg). Here is a freshly-washed bowl of eggs, ready to be boiled:

Gas holder & feed store supplies

Before I could mow I needed to get some gas (petrol for non-US readers) for the mowers. Securing the gas cans in the bed of the truck is always a bit tricky, so on a whim I whipped up a wooden holder for them, that contains them securely:

It’s attached to the bed both via a bungee across the top, and a hook directly onto an attachment ring, so it won’t slide around:

I also did my monthly run to the local feed store (15 minutes away; the closest shops to home), where I got several bags of chicken feed, bird seed, and peanuts for the jays:

Several inches of snow

Yesterday was predicted to have 2 to 5 inches of snow, but nothing much eventuated during the day:

However, in the evening it picked up a bit:

And continued overnight, culminating in almost 8 inches this morning:

The camera that watches the front of the cat shelter was buried:

Another angle; the front of the cat shelter is in the middle of the photo:

The chickens were not impressed:

And once again the chicken run roof netting didn’t fare too well:

We took Rory out for a walk in the snow; she loved it. Here we’re checking on the beehives; her one chance to get so close to them:

The chicken coop:

Frozen pond:

View of the pond arbor, brown gazebo, and trees:

Snow on a tree near the white gazebo:

Our new apple trees might be regretting coming here:

Rory really loved scampering in the snow:

Bird feeders:

The cat shelter again:

Snow!

It unexpectedly snowed overnight. Apparently areas above an elevation of 1,000 feet around the Portland region received some snow… and we’re at 1,100 feet.

Only about an inch, and it’s raining now, so it’ll probably be gone later today. But still fun to enjoy it while it lasts.

The feral cats are cozy in their heated shelter:

But the weight of the snow tore down the end of the chicken run roof netting:

So I went out with a staple gun and ladder to fix it:

Snow on the brown gazebo and trees:

Snow on the white gazebo:

The pond deck arbor:

The beehives:

Notice the clearer patch in the center of the roof, from the heat of the bees clustered inside: