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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Chickens One Year Later

It has been almost a year since I embarked on the journey to have chickens in my backyard. I thought I would share some thoughts and sum up how I feel almost a year later.

small backyard chicken coop


We started out with four chicks. We are legally able to have three but the guy at the feed store said sometimes you loose one so get an extra. They all survived and are alive today in spite of me.

deworming chickens naturally

First, I thought we would tuck them away in this space behind the garage. The is the long suffering spouse building the enclosure. It was nice and secure but I just was not happy with this set up.
I could not see them and let me tell you, watching chickens and hearing the cute sounds they make is half the fun. I never tire of watching what they are doing.

urban coop

Here are my thoughts a few months in on what you should consider if you want to raise chickens in the city.
At this point the girls were still in the old coop and I would let them out during the day but chickens are hard on a garden. Especially a small one, so the gardener in me was suffering at this point.

chickens in garden

Then I told my husband, the ever patient man, I hated the chickens behind the garage and we ordered this small backyard chicken coop. The post about it is here. Wish we would have done this from the start. It is perfect for our needs and I am very happy with it. The chickens were still roaming the yard during the day which they loved but I did not.

small coop for backyard

So in November we put this up. A quick job of fencing with supplies we already had. We wanted to see how this would work and let me say, you live and learn with chickens. This is the most awesome set up. I can see them, they have space to roam and dirt to bathe in and I let them out once in a while but mostly they live contently back here. We should have done this from the start. I think this year we will build something more permanent and attractive but for now I couldn't be happier. The yard and patio is clean all the time and we can see them and interact while out there. 

keeping chickens out of the garden

I now have just the two girls and gave two away because I felt four was a bit much for my yard but I would love to add another chicken to have three but I think my husband might have other ideas this year. The two should be good layers this year as they are fully grown now but they are on a winter break from laying and I am dying to get my fresh eggs again. We have been very warm and sunny so hopefully soon. We also put a little light in the coop to give them some extended hours of light to help with laying.  So I wait.

Would I do this again? YES! I love chickens. They are a very calming wonderful pet to have. Getting them dialed in was the challenge but they never were. They have been good girls and I hope to own chickens for a long time.
We now have an attractive easy DIY chicken run fence. Check it out here.

31 comments:

Claudia said...

So nice to read this recap of your year with chickens, Elaine. I imagine it wasn't easy to give two of your babies away! I know I would have had a bit of trouble with that. But your girls look healthy and happy!

Thanks so much for joining in this week!

xo
Claudia

Karen said...

This is so helpful. Our city is in the process of passing an ordinance allowing backyard chickens. I can't wait to get started. The coop is just adorable:)

Little Bitty Damn Houze said...

Every time I read about your chickens I want one! But I am quickly talked out of it by others! So I will live vicariously through you and your blog! Thanks for sharing! I love your pictures of them! Do they have names?

Barbara F. said...

I wish I had space and patience and know-how to do something like this. I would love fresh eggs, I eat them daily just about. xo

Jeanmarie DiTaranto said...

Great post! I checked into having chickens in my backyard, but it's illegal here; so I especially love to read chicken posts from people who do keep them. Thanks!

Karen Mary Butterfly said...

I have been tempted to this too. We have a perfect space for them. I love that coop!! I lived in the country growing up and we always had chickens. I bet the fresh eggs are great!
Karen

Diana Schmied said...

After 5 or 6 years of between 3 and 6 chickens roaming my standard suburban backyard, I, too, ended up fencing off a portion late this summer like you did -- and I am so much happier with the set up! I can enjoy both my yard and the chickens now. We need to make the fencing a little higher and I want to reuse an old screen door to make an easy in and out for me -- so that's on the agenda once our weather warms up a bit.

Right now I have 6 hens -- 2 elderly "retired" hens, and 4 younger ones who all started up laying again last week -- I have 2 dozen fresh eggs in the fridge as we speak!

Diane said...

Fresh eggs sound heavenly! How lucky your area allows them! Good luck!

corners of my life said...

A pampered life indeed for these little girls . . .

Kris said...

It's all such a learning experience, isn't it!! Your other two girls are doing just fine here, and have settled in very nicely with the rest of the gang. They all travel together, as if they were an original clan.
: ) xo Kris

marty (A Stroll Thru Life) said...

Your coop is wonderful and I think the little fence is perfect too. Great info. Hugs, Marty

20 North Ora said...

Those little girls look very happy and content!! Interesting to look back when you first got them and your first year.

Judy

Jen @ Muddy Boot Dreams said...

Elaine, I am so glad that you ended up happy with them....our neighbour has a few and the cutest coop in their backyard, I love hearing them cluck away.

They are so cute, now if only I wasn't so allergic to them sigh...

And no matter how warm it gets there, I will still be your friend.

Today...and I am not whining here, I am done with winter. It's sinking in that it's going to hang around for awhile.

Jen

Lottie said...

I grew up in the country and everybody had a chicken coop and fenced in area for the chickens to roam and keep dogs and foxes out. As a child, my chore everyday was to check the chickens and make sure they had water. We always had plenty of eggs! I'm sorry that my children did not grow up with chickens or goats.

Mirnita n Leenie said...

I love your set and would like to try something like this one day soon. I live in Nebraska, what do I do with them in the winter? Are they okay outside? Also, how many eggs do two chickens produce when it is laying season? Any tips or advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

Leenie
www.undecidedmamas.com

poppilinnstudios said...

Elaine, I just love your chickens! And, your new set-up looks great!
-Lynn

Leslie said...

I'm so glad you're enjoying your chickens and have a good set up for them! Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you like the granola bars, too! Enjoy your weekend!
Blessings,
Leslie

It's Just Dottie said...

I have extreme chicken love!!
Smiles,Dottie

Mary Clark said...

So glad this has worked out so well for you, I enjoy every time you post about the girls, and I love their pictures! Hoping they start laying soon so you can get back to fresh eggs. Mary

Holly said...

They are very blessed chickens to have you for their chicky momma. xx Holly

Dayle @ A Collection of This and That said...

Very interesting. Love how you have them set up in the backyard.

Debra said...

I love your chickens posts... I still remember the one where you had detailed their various personalities / fun! :)

Linda @ A La Carte said...

I think watching chickens is fun and the fresh eggs are amazing! Glad you shared your thoughts a year later!
hugs, Linda

Nancy po said...

Chickens are a real learning curve- I lost 2 to worms, another to an unknown disease. I learned about quarantining new hens, and watching for signs of illness, to catch it early. I have nursed 2 back from death's doorstep. I just LOVE my girls! I use and sell the eggs, and have the best veggie garden soil ever. Nothing beats chicken poo!

Magazine Your Home said...

I love my chickens too Elaine, they each have their own little personalities.

Lisa Lynn said...

I love to hear about chickens in the city! Found you on A Favorite Thing and i would love to have you join me on The HomeAcre Hop on Thursday!
http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/01/the-homeacre-hop-4.html

AshTreeCottage said...

You are so lucky that your hubby lets you have chickens. Neither David nor Bentley want them in our yard. I love my neighbor's chickens and they are a real joy to watch and to hear. In the spring and summer when I am hanging laundry on the line or working in the garden, I can hear them scratching and talking and I love every moment! Love your coop too by the way.

Big Hugs,
Susan and Bentley

Our Neck of the Woods said...

What a fun recap! It's so true like you said, that you just live and learn with chickens. You definitely learn as you go along! I love their coop and looks like the new setup is perfect for them, and you!

Maryjane-The Beehive Cottage said...

You got some happy chickens there Elaine. Loving that cute coop! Have a wonderful week! Love ya, Maryjane

Val said...

I would absolutely love to have roosters.

Renee said...

I LOVE that little hen house!! I SO WISH we could have chickens. We live on an acre and a half in the country so you would think we could. But, we built our house in a neighborhood and our HOA says chickens are a No-No. Boo. You make it look easy! -Renee

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