New chicken & duck cams

A couple of days ago I set up four new cameras around the homestead.

Two were for the chickens. We have two coops, each with a run (that are separated by a fence, but with an open hole so the chickens can go between them, for now). The old coop had an old low-quality camera mounted in the ceiling, and the old run didn’t have a camera at all.

So I replaced the old coop camera with a new one, mounted on the wall for a better angle.  This camera has a wide field of vision, about 100°, so can see most of the coop:

Camera

Here it is in context on the wall behind the door. The coop is very cobwebby!

Camera in coop

This is me looking at the camera viewing app on my phone, to check the position during installation:

David and chickens in the coop

And here’s the view from the camera once the angle was tweaked:

Chickens in coop

Another example, with a bunch of chickens roosting:

Chickens in coop

As evening sets in, most of the chickens roost in the new coop, but a few roost in the old one:

Sleepy chickens

The chicken pop door automatically closes after dark:

Pop door closed

As mentioned, I also added a camera in the old run. Here you can see the old camera for the new run on the left, and the new camera for the old run on the right (confused?!):

Chicken run cams

Here’s an example of the view from this camera, showing the old coop:

Old run cam

A screenshot of the camera app, showing all four chicken cams.  I like how the two run cams line up to a panoramic view of both runs (with a little overlap):

Screenshot of cameras

I also set up two cameras to watch the (future) ducks. Here, I’m installing the outdoor camera to watch the pond. I have the camera running so I can check the position:

David by pond

Here’s the pond cam, mounted on the pond deck:

Pond cam

The view from the pond cam; it can see most of the pond:

Pond

Finally, I also set up an indoor cam for the duck house, though since I’m still building that, in the meantime I’ve placed it to watch Pepper’s bed in the front of the shop:

Cat in shop

(I’ll have a few more pictures from that cam in tomorrow’s Caturday post; stay tuned for that!)

Chickens in the snow

The snow is melting, helped by the rain. It was fun while it lasted, but I’m ready for it to go.

Our chickens would prefer no snow too; they don’t like walking in it.

Here are a bunch of photos of the chickens in the snow, from yesterday and today:

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Chickens in snow

Gate between chicken run & veggie garden

This past weekend I built a doorway and gate to make it easier to go between the veggie garden and the chicken run. Something I do a lot, especially in summer, when giving the chickens treats of kale, tomatoes, etc grown in our garden.

Here’s the new doorway, built by adding the new left pole and top plate, cutting away the fencing, and cutting out the horizontal rails:

I also moved the grazing box in the chicken run, to clear a path by the door. The chickens love having direct access to the grass, which will probably be all scratched away in a matter of days. I’ll seed new grass in the new box position in spring:

Building the gate frame; the fourth and last one:

Door hardware installation:

The completed gate, closed:

And open:

I added a hook & eye to hold the gate open during winter:

I also permanently closed the small holes through the fence that the chickens were using to access the veggie garden, so now they go through this doorway.

That concludes building the gates for the veggie garden and berry cage. Next up: replacing the old fencing wire around the berry cage.

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 oyster & grit dispenser and run enhancements

Yesterday I did a bunch of relatively small projects for the chicken coop and run, as the last building projects for it (for now, at least). Namely to make an oyster shell and grit dispenser for inside, moving and seeding the grazing frame, building outdoor roosts, making swings, and adding logs. With all that done, I was finally able to put away the tools that have been living around the coop for the last several months. A very satisfying feeling to be officially done at last.

Here’s the oyster & grit dispenser; oyster shell is good for chickens to help make strong egg shells, and they need grit to help digest treats and such (they can find sand and such in the run to serve that purpose, but convenient to have it on hand if they want it):

Installed, between the waterers and feed tube:

Outside, I moved the grazing frame, which exposed some grass that had started to regrow… this is almost all gone now, a day later:

The grazing frame is now in the opposite corner of the run. I added some soil and grass seed, so before long they’ll have more tasty grass to nibble on:

I next built some roosting bars in the corner where the grazing frame was before:

It was met with approval:

A couple of chicken swings, which they could perch on to keep them entertained (not sure how successful these will be):

And finally, I added some logs and branches as additional entertainment and perch opportunities:

Chicken run roof

Over the last several days, I finished off the new chicken run, fully enclosing it with a netting roof.

Firstly, I extended the fence between the two chicken runs, to be the same height as the rest of the new run fencing:

Then I installed poles and beams every 8 feet:

A beam over the roof of the coop:

One last escape by Camilla:

Poles and north-south beams done:

Started adding netting:

Buffy enjoying a perch on the ladder:

Adding east-west beams:

Foiled!

Done:

View from above (hard to see the netting; it covers the entire top):

Easier to see here:

Chicken poop tray & grazing frame

Today I crossed another couple of little chicken projects off my list.

Firstly, I built a poop tray — a nested tray to collect the poop chickens release overnight while roosting, to make it easier to keep the coop clean.

Here is the outer tray, which features an opening at the back (towards us) and a welded wire screen to keep the chickens out:

And the inner tray, with a small opening at one end to enable scooping out the waste:

They fit together like this within the coop, accessed via the poop door:

Both could be removed if I want to sweep out the entire coop. But typically just the inner tray will be pulled out to clean out, without exposing the whole doorway:

Here’s what it looks like inside:

Next up, I built a grazing frame — a structure with a hardware cloth screen on top. We can plant grass or other fodder inside the frame, which will grow up through the wire, so the chickens can eat the tops without destroying the entire plant. (Given an opportunity, chickens will turn any amount of foliage to barren dirt in time, by scratching and pecking plants into oblivion.)

The chickies are intrigued:

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.