If you haven’t had the pleasure of seeing Hildegard and Mrs. Cluck, here they are!
Hildegard is a Black Australorp and Mrs. Cluck is a Buff Orpington – so fancy sounding, right?! Ha.
The need to stay in their coop for a week to get oriented to our “home” (think cats) so we’ve had no chicken roaming escapades (yet). It’ll be so much fun to let them roam when the kids get home! On a side note – Hildegard is TERRIFIED of Denver. She goes insane if he gets too close so I won’t torture either animal with each other’s company. I don’t think they’ll be best friends. Poodles and Labradors (and subsequently Labradoodles) are bird dogs after all. I’m a bit freaked out of the chickens too though to be honest… I’m not entirely sure I’ll be able to pick them up! Those legs… yeesh!
Their little coop is a tractor style triangle that I move each morning to a new patch of grass. I like to have them near the garden so I can see them from our bedroom window (I worry about predators bothering them at night). So this is all well and good. We have a tiny property so I figured this coop was ideal. Wrong. Chicken poop. So much chicken poop. Raking it out of sopping wet Pittsburgh grass is an extreme chore and quite a challenge for this prego Mama! I’m not complaining, dear husband. I begged for permission to try out being a chicken Mom. It’s just pretty rough to be bent over for so long. And after a day or two of poop filled water, I tried putting the water dish thing up on a round log slice and solved that problem. No more poop in the water! But I’ve been reading and researching- most people with chickens have different systems that DON’T require daily/constant poop cleaning commitments. Cleaning out a coop on a twice yearly basis sounds MUCH better to me. Larger outdoor chicken runs, “poop decks” that are cleaned more like cat littler, or just spaces where the poop can absorb into the ground over time without bothering anything/anyone would be much more ideal for me. For now, though, it’ll do. 😉 I’m hoping that once they roam a bit more outside in the yard with us, the poop won’t be so packed into the grass underneath them… but maybe there will just be more poop spread out to clean up? Thinking we’ll be needing a full hose off from now on after playing outside. And a strict no shoes inside policy.
Eventually, I’d love Brandon to build/install something like this:
How hard could it be? 😉 But he’s really busy lately and starting all kinds of time consuming stuff this week so I doubt this will happen anytime soon (if at all). Maybe next year 😉 **Image via pinterest with no link or source info!** At the end of the productive garden season, I’m going to move the coop into the garden. Then I know the chickens will be a bit safer to roam around with us- it’s fenced in- and also, I’ll just be able to leave the poop and keep turning it into the soil. Ya know, since I’m a farm girl now 😉 HA!
Each morning I go out and open the back of the coop to look for eggs. I’m not going to lie, it’s pretty exciting to see them- smooth and pale brown and perfect. At first I was a little freaked out to just leave them on the counter- but that’s the way to do it with fresh eggs. One egg did have a tiny bit of poop on it so I couldn’t resist washing and refrigerating… wiping it off with a dry paper towel didn’t feel right yet lol. Getting all my info from this book:
We got it free with our Chicken rental along with those dozen eggs you see pictured above. I read the book in a night and can’t wait to make some of the recipes! They look fabulous. Random fact- did you know that grocery store eggs are one to two MONTHS old at the time they are placed on the shelf for purchase?!! Can you wrap your head around that? ONE or TWO entire months old. Super weird.
For now I just watch these girls. They cluck quietly and come right over to me every time I go down to say hi. They love my herbs too! I can hold out a piece of this or that and they gobble it up.
My parents took the girls to the Elmwood Park Zoo in Eastern Pa. (it’s a small little local zoo but super fun for small kids) and of course Gracie loved seeing all their chickens again!
Can’t wait to see what both girls think of our own chickens! They get home this afternoon so I’ll keep everyone posted.