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|
|We can also store the extra hay bails for the coop|
on the storage side.
|Their feeder and waterer|
|Walk softly and carry a big stick|
...Little Big Man simultaneously scores winning touchdowns and fights bad guys with his super powers...
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 . . .
I know, I know. They're just chickens. Really, I know. But I'm so thankful for them.