Happy Wednesday everybody!
It’s been a while since I gave you all a recent “scoop on the coop” regarding our feathered friends, so I thought I’d take this post to update you on what’s new with our 5 pretty hens.
To back waaaaaaay up, you’ll remember when we first got these little cuties in May they were day old baby chicks who needed a lot of care and attention (as most newborns do!) You can read all about our adventures in raising them in a post I wrote here.
Once our girls were old enough to move outside, we began the search for the perfect home for them. We started out with a basic coop that we purchased at our local Tractor Supply Co. This coop was very easy to assemble and we got it for a great deal at the end of spring, when they typically put all their chicken coops on sale.
At first, this was the perfect size for our growing hens who were basically “adolescents” by the time they were feathered enough to move into their outdoor digs.
But as they continued to grow and mature, it was evident that our pretty cinnamon queens were getting a little too cramped in their “cozy” quarters and needed a bit more space to stretch their wings. Since we live in a part of our county that does not allow free-ranging chickens, we needed to strategize a way to somehow achieve this but still keep our girls safely in their coop.
This is when I needed to enlist the help of an expert – aka former farmer – aka my grandfather! He can always help me figure out a good solution when I need something modified or custom built. All I had to do was have him out to survey the situation and describe to him what I was thinking, and he took some notes and got straight to work.
The result was a substantial expansion pen addition off the rear of the existing coop, which would basically double the space for our ladies to roam and stretch their pretty wings. I only had 1 “must-have” requirement. I needed a way to feed and water from the top of the coop & not the side doors, which were constantly a challenge to shoo the birds away from their mad-rush to the door every time I opened it!
Thankfully, my handy grandpa did not disappoint! He came up with an awesome design for the new addition that we added to the back of our coop earlier this month. He, my uncle and some other “little helpers” spent one Saturday afternoon doing the installation and I honestly don’t know who is more thrilled with the way it turned out – me or the chickens!
All the extra space is so great for their activity levels – keeps boredom at bay – and really cuts down on the amount of food they were consuming in their smaller enclosed space (we feed our chicks a primary diet of organic layer feed.)
But the best part is this totally great feature that was exactly what I had requested – a new trap door system that allows me to feed the birds from above. This is so great because they can no longer make a mad rush to fly out of the side door I used to feed them from. All I have to do is simply lower the feeder in and out using the hook and rope system to fill their food.
And the same goes on the other side for their water. I can simply reach down and lift out their water bucket when I need to clean it out or refill it. It’s so great!
I could not be more elated for our pretty ladies new “romper room” – as my grandpa affectionately named it! This is one Extreme Makeover: Coop Edition that deserves its own accolades.
Our chickens are happier and healthier for it, and a healthy chicken is a happy chicken!
Stay tuned for our next scoop on the coop update where I’ll be sharing with you how we winterized our coop before the snow and cold hits here in Wisconsin. So far, it’s been a pretty mild start to our winter season, but those below zero temps are bound to come eventually.