Five years ago this week, I was on the verge of becoming a new chicken Mom. I didn’t realize it at the time. Or I did. You see, we had ordered twenty-five Rhode Island Red chicks as a straight run from our local Tractor Supply. But chick-fever is a real thing and our baby RiRs would not be there until May. Every trip to Tractor Supply included hovering over the metal bins of peeping chicks and talking to them. Calling them ‘babies!’ and wishing I could bring some home.
Then, in the second week of April, after a day spent flying kites with our kids, somehow, we decided to just go to Tractor Supply and get chicks now.
We came back with twenty sex-linked chicks in a box. Seventeen little yellow roosters and three brown/yellow baby pullets. We didn’t know that at the time. My Dude, who is no longer little, picked them because they were cute. Who knew they’d be boys?
While they grew up quickly in our brooder box and I just as quickly researched chickens, breeds and other things, my wonderful DH built our coop out of raw materials my father had lying around the barn. Every year since, it has undergone minor changes. When the RiRs finally arrived, we kept them in the brooder until they fairly out grew it and then spent and agonizing week trying to integrate without a bloody massacre occurring.
And with Gold Boy and his rowdy crew, we certainly almost had a bloody massacre.
The following year we added 18 new pullets, and split the coop in two, and then removed the divide once they intergrated. I’ve since discovered easier ways of intergration… and letting hens raise babies inside the coop with the flock rather than buying chicks and risk fighting.
One year we added new perches and removed some unused nesting boxes.
And this year … After five years, we have given the coop new floors. It was time. They’re wooden and five years of water and deep bedding, the first winter with the ducks… the floors had been patched and patched again. It was just time.
Normally, I clean the deep bedding twice a year. In the Spring and in the Autumn. So we counted this as the Spring clean-out. My Dude and I took out eight wheelbarrow loads of bedding, which went on the garden beds. It will need tilled under and will set until next month when I’m ready to plant.
The others hung out outside, and the roosters (we have eight right now, until I decide which four are going to Freezer Camp) sounded the alarm at any unusual noises coming from the coop.
And there it is – a brand new floor made out of recycled pallet boards and happy chickens.