Backyard Chickens: All Cooped Up

Chicken update!
Do you guys even like to hear about the ladies? I love to talk about them because I love the chickens, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you all want to hear about them. Really, do you mind a chicken post now and again?
Well I’ve made some changes to our set-up since I last checked in. I got a few more chickens from a friend so I’m up to nine hens total. They are big and beautiful and they poop. A lot. They took a liking to my porches and sidewalk and I was just so sick of chicken poop everywhere. Not only is it gross, but it’s embarrassing. So I decided to fence the ladies in instead of letting them roam as they please.
This is a little bit embarrassing for me to post. This part of my yard is the forgotten part that no one, even us, ever goes in, but hey, I like to keep it real.
It’s hard to see here, but there is now a chicken wire fence from the corner of the coop to the fence.

chicken coop

It’s a nice big area, so I don’t feel bad about keeping them there. My compost pile is in there which they pick through and scratch at. All that yellow is apples that fell from the tree. I just tossed them in after I cleaned up under the tree. The hens eat on them and I’ll rake them back into the compost pile every week or so. What they don’t eat turns into future garden fertilizer. The stick pile is there for the hens. They like to hide in it and go under there when the sun is out. Did you know that chickens don’t like direct sun? They always stay in the shade when they can. I’m wondering if that will change as the weather gets colder.
The shed-of-death back there has my wheel barrow and some pots in it. We don’t use it or go in there ever, it really should just be knocked down. I’ve found multiple black widows in that shed so I never go in it.

chicken coop

The chickens on the other hand love the shed. It has a dirt floor to take dirt baths in, and they love my big pots. A friend asked if I had convinced the chickens to lay eggs inside of the coop that I lovingly and painstakingly built for them (coop tour here) and the answer is no. I tried golf balls, fresh mint in their laying boxes, the whole shebang, but not a single bird of the nine lays eggs in the coop. Not one! Now that they are fenced in it is a thousand times easier to find the eggs. I’m sure there are nests hidden in the yard that I haven’t even found yet, sneaky little buggers.
They lay two places here. One is in my pot. Isn’t that funny.Here are two gals laying together. As I walked over to take a picture the hen on the left stood up.

chicken coop

As I watched, she laid the egg you can see there. I saw if plop right out of her! Isn’t that amazing and gross all at the same time? That egg is literally 2 seconds old. Can’t get much fresher than that.

chicken coop

So three hens like the pot and the other 6 lay behind that board leaning against the barn at the far left of the picture below.

chicken coop

It’s hard to tell, but that is a hen hiding under the board laying an egg.

They like the crushed egg shells that I feed them.

I like the lack of poo but I miss them meandering the yard and I know Henry misses chasing them. I let them out to eat grass for a few hours in the evening, but it’s not quiet the same. I’ll keep this set up through the winter too though because it is working well.

I’m getting 6-8 eggs a day. Chickens lay according to the hours of daylight they get, so I’m not sure how things will change as they days get shorter, but I need to read up on what they need for the winter.

There you have it, a lovely little update on the hens at my house.

Thanks for letting me gab about the ladies! Are you convinced you need your own yet?

And if you’re new and liked to see more of our backyard chicken fun here are some links:
The day we bought the chicks.
The hens (and me) during those awkward teenage years)
Getting bigger!
Moving into the coop. - The prettiest backyard chicken coop ever :)
And my very first egg.


13 comments on “Backyard Chickens: All Cooped Up

  1. In my life, I will probably never own chickens… Heck, we may never even own a dog. That being said, I LOVE your chicken posts. It’s fun to read about something new to you :) I may never need to know how to bake egg shells, but it’s kind of fun having the knowledge :)

  2. I love that you have chickens!! Fresh eggs at your disposal…how marvelous! Funny about your chicken’s behavior…at least you know their two favorite laying spots :)

  3. Thanks for the update on the ladies. I am sure they are just nervous to lay in such a fine establishment such as your fancy coop. Come winter, they might change their mind.

    1. I know they eat quite a few bug, and I have watched them enjoys lots. Black widows like it dark and secluded and I often find them in the wood pile, so I bet the chickens didn’t eat them because they don’t hunt *that* hard for food since I feed them all of our delicious scraps :) I bet they would if one was out and caught their eye though.

  4. Hi Melissa; New to your blog. So far, I’ve read only about your chicken adventures as well as your precious kids. You make it sound so fun!! As for as you having trouble getting them to lay in the great hen house that you built. Great job, btw!! ☺ Maybe, take a tip from your first layer- regarding where you found your first egg “under” the sticks in the yard. It’s been my experience, they require more of an enclosure where it’s dark, secluded and shaded. You may consider enclosing the entrance to the nesting boxes (more privacy;-) with lots and lots hay. I’m no expert, I’m just passing on info I’ve observed growing up in the south. Visiting the country where everybody and his brother has chickens. Also, lately I’ve found YouTube has great vids and tons of info. I’m too have been bitten by the “wanting” my own chickens bug. ;-)

    1. SUCH good advice! We moved this year to my husband’s hometown and we have the hens on an acre lot with our garden. I’m so scared to let them free-range much because I don’t think I’d EVER find the eggs on such a big and over grown lot :) Silly birds… Thanks for the great comment.

    2. I just started my chick adventure, coop 100% made of recycled material except the chicken wire (total cost of mine $25.00 plus 1 hinge). My friend suggested that I make curtains for the nesting boxes because they like to be secluded. I’ve made some curtains for my brooder, now to the coop!

  5. Hi Melissa! I just found your page– Enjoy all the pics and story. and we do have chickens now! I bought a great book, ” Barnyard in your back yard”—before we bought teen age hens at the nursery here in town. Each spring you can buy either chicks or hens. I didn’t have a place, or the patience for chicks. But the hens are great. In cold weather, just put a light in the coop—not too close to the roost, or it will be too hot for them. If you don’t want to go to the expense of electricity in the coop, a battery powered bulb will do. We put ceramic eggs in the nests, so they knew where to put the eggs when they started laying. It worked! –Suggest you go to the library and get a couple of books–Great evening reading!

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