Lesson 323 – A bit of coop-keeping


A bit of chicken housework –

The advent of the hatched egg

Instead of one of my Wendy-isms about chickens and kids, I thought I’d catch you all up on a few things that are going on in our household these days.

Today is the day the incubated eggs are supposed to hatch. The Kindergarten teacher has my cell phone number and has promised to let me know the MOMENT there is any activity. You’d think that after hatching 6 many-pound babies I’d be used to this unbearable-expectation but alas, not I. I’m the nervous hen who constantly keeps checking her phone (nothing yet) and then checking it again.

After emerging from an hour in front of my comptuter the kids crowd around me – “Any news” they ask, barely able to keep themselves from jumping up and down.

Nope, not yet, but I”ll let you know.

Hen doors, wood chips, and snow

Last winter we had trouble with our henhouse door (the one that leads from the enclosed wire coop to the outdoors). There were some days the only way we could get it open was to pry the sides open with a metal bar. Not the easiest thing to do when you have a filled container of food and water to pass through to the girls.

There are (as far as I can tell) two reasons why this happened.

1.The snow level got higher than the bottom of the door, this meant that we had a freezing situation. The wood warped, the snow melted and then became ice. Things froze, things stuck. It was not pretty.
2.If you recall, around December, we stopped taking the bedding out and instead allowed it to accumulate. This created a bit of insulation for the birds during the coldest months of our winters. However, like the snow on the outside, the wood chips piled up on the inside getting into the door corners forcing screws to pull loose and hinges to come undone.
At one point we were keeping the door shut by popping an outdoor table against it. It was sufficient enough to keep the hens inside but a predator would have figured it out in a heartbeat. It was, to say the least, not a good situation.

I’m already on top of this for next winter. Our good friend Tom is coming over to take a look at the door in order to help us figure out what to do. My initial suggestion was to create a half door that opened up well above any snow or wood chip level. The problem with that though is that you’d then have to lift a full water container (and those things are heavy) up high enough to get it over.

I also wonder if the chickens would be able to get over a half door or if we’d have to lift them individually when it is time for them to go out and play.

While I have never minded helping a chicken (or child for that matter – ask me how many times I have held a kid up to get water from a water fountain) out, I can imagine that after awhile, (especially if I’m running late and am wearing my big-girl out of the coop clothes) carrying chickens can get old.

I’ll also keep you updated on this project.

Chickens and the news

A few weeks ago, I held a workshop on chickens in at the Goodwin Library in Farmington, NH. This incredible article about that talk appeared on fosters.com – a service of Fosters Daily Democrat. . (http://www.fosters.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110519/GJNEWS_01/705199713/-1/fosnews ) Written by John Nolan, it captures all the highlights of my talk. Those of you who read this blog will recognize a few of my chicken stories.

In all, a delightful time and a great article. Job well done John!

A Cane and Mickey Mouse

Lastly, as many of you know I had a bit of knee surgery last week. It wasn’t fun but like a hen does when laying an egg, I squawked a bit and then got on with it. Happy to report that I’ve graduated from an ace-bandage wrapped dressing to two Collector Series Mickey Mouse Band-aids and that my crutches have moved over to allow my cane (heavily gnawed on by the dogs) some one-on-one time.

All systems seem to be “go”. Thanks all for your best wishes and concern, it’s nice to be a member of a flock.

I've got your back.

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Filed under All things chickens, All things local, Backyard Chickens, chicken care, Chicks, In the News, Media, New Hampshire, Personal, Project Chickens before the Eggs, That darn knee

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