The Unclaimed Treasures

And now, I proudly introduce to the world (or the two of you reading) our CHICKENS!

We have a small flock of eight hens.  I bought them the last week of March as little chicks.  We kept them inside for nearly two weeks, brooding them under a heat lamp, making sure they were growing strong and hearty.  When the time was right (read: when I couldn't stand the idea of eight birds pooping on cardboard behind a cage in my house) I moved them into their coop outside where they will hopefully continue to grow fat and happy and lay for us a bazillion eggs.  We don't anticipate the bazillion eggs to begin until mid- to late summer, but the ol' gals are growing like crazy.

I have pined for chickens for years now.  I have read and researched, gotten all excited, and put it all to the back burner more times than I can count.  But finally Ma Luffin' Mayun got on board.  I think the move to the new house helped with that.  Whatever the reason, you can imagine I pounced the first time I heard him say, "You can get your chickens now".  The next awesome thing I heard from him was that I could use the storage shed that came with our house as a coop for the flock.  What a man.  Diamonds would have made no better gift.

The storage shed is where our backyard meets our woods.  It's perfect.  It has all the requirements for a hen house: good space, a window to the outside world, ventilation without drafts, solid floors, walls, and roof.  But it is also a really big storage shed, so I started to ponder and scheme ways of dividing the shed down the middle somehow; half for chickens and half for storage. 

The shed first needed a lot of cleaning up.  There was still some stuff left from the previous owners and our outdoor tools had been kind of haphazardly, we'll-deal-with-this-later chucked into the shed when we moved in.  I pulled EVERYTHING out of the shed and as I did I realized there was all sorts of scrap lumber, particle board panels, and molding strips obviously left over from weekend-warrior projects before our arrival on Noah Lane.  Some creative thinking, trial-and-error, screws, nails, and hours later, I stepped back and looked into a storage shed that had been neatly divided down the middle with a wall to separate...chickens to the left and tools to the right.  Ah, the satisfaction.
Don't worry.  I only put flowers on the "chick" side of the shed.
They're pinwheels, so they spin like mad on blustery days.

A shot of the piecemeal wall.
It ain't pretty, but it's sturdy.

Here's Little Big Man standing on the storage side by
Daddy's mower.
We can also store the extra hay bails for the coop
on the storage side.

Here's the coop side.  You can see their window
and their door to the outside.  The four nesting boxes
are made out of an old cabinet and plastic tubs.
The ladder is made out of a piece of closet shelving.
The roosting poles are two paintroll extenders screwed
to the wall.

Their feeder and waterer
The baby gate/kid corral/toddler torturer that I got at consignment last year is now the perfect yard for the chickens to peck and scratch in.  I attached three pvc pipes in arches to the gate sections and then covered the whole thing with chicken wire, so they are nice and secure and hopefully safe from predators.  I also made it so that the cage can detach from the coop and be moved around the backyard like a chicken tractor.
Walk softly and carry a big stick
The decision to raise chickens, at least for me, is only partly motivated by having our own eggs (although I guarantee that was the selling point for my mister).  I just like the whole idea of slowing the world down a little in the places I can.  If before we had kids I thought time flew, now with three children I'm a believer that it zooms past at break-neck, warp speed.  Sometimes it feels like we're in a runaway vehicle, but in reality we can apply the brakes.  We don't always remember that or choose it.  And I like to be on the move with places to go and people to see.  But that pace can wear me down, can wear all of us down.  The chickens - coming to us as chicks that required certain care to grow strong enough for the out-of-doors, needing daily tending with food and water, and teaching us delayed gratification while we wait for chicks to become mature hens and lay for us eggs - slow us down.  It feels like a throwback to days that come out of the stories my grandparents told.  It wasn't quaint or trendy or hippie to raise animals or grow food or not watch TV all day.  It was practical and a lot of times necessary.  And it was slower than fast food and highways and DVRs.

Thank God for modernity and the conveniences of 2011.  But thank God for the chances to rewind - or at least pause - time a bit.  It's something else to watch the kids learn that chickens start off a whole lot cuter than what's wrapped in cellophane at the grocery store, that eggs don't have to come in cartons; to see them scour the yard for grasses to pluck up and inch worms to poke through the fence as snacks for the chickens.  The kids don't sit for hours or even many minutes watching the chickens, but the hens seem to have become a sort of starting point in the yard from which the us-es explore.  Pretty Baby toddles around and plops down to investigate leaves and dirt and caterpillars and acorns . . .
...Little Big Man simultaneously scores winning touchdowns and fights bad guys with his super powers...
...and Brilliant Beauty stops the progression towards being "too cool" and sings made up songs to imaginary audiences without a sliver of self-consciousness.

I know, I know.  They're just chickens.  Really, I know.  But I'm so thankful for them.


  1. And I too of them and you. PP

  2. Best. Post. Ever. I'm in tears. Thank you for the reminder to slow things down, get outside, and let kids be kids.

    Love you lots!

  3. Too awesome, thanks for sharing! :)

  4. I am so glad this worked out for you. I have wanted chickens for years and you so eloquently put my thoughts into words that I am speechless. I LOVE the slowed-down life. I refuse to involve my kids in so many activities that we don't know our own names. For years I have been doing as you did with the shed and coop - using what I have to make what we need. Do I wish we had tons of money? Sure. But I am thankful that I get to see God every day. He provides for us. He loves us and I love Him! I also love you my friend and I am so thankful you share your thoughts with us. What a blessing you are!

  5. Y'all make my heart happy.

    All of you.

    More than the chickens.


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