Since last April when Mo first got his 4H chicks, we’ve not had them at our house. We lived in a neighborhood back then where poultry weren’t allowed. My parents (AKA Grammy and Papa) gladly let us build a hen house and coop for them at their house, which at the time was just a few miles down the road. We did our best to care for them several days a week, and Papa graciously filled in for us on the other days. But we longed to have them home with us. We knew this house had a hen house when we looked at it, but I’ll be honest in saying I wanted our other hen house that the Prez built with Papa and our big boys. It was going to be so costly to have it moved though … and then one is here. Sigh. I wasn’t happy, but I decided to put on my farm girl pants and get to work to ready it for our ladies (as Grammy calls them).
Now that we are living in the country with plenty of land, it was time for our 20 hens and 1 rooster to come live with us. And last night, the Prez and our oldest son got them all loaded in boxes with holes cut in them. And they brought them to our renovated hen house. Since they’ve laid at last count 16 eggs today, I think they must like the new place. It has 8 nesting boxes, which are there on the left in the above picture, and roosting poles, on the right side of the picture. We made some improvements such as new doors on the front (and closing the makeshift door on the back) and adding two new little hen doors.
It has been a family affair to get the hen house that was on this property ready for our ladies. We have scooped poop that must have been years old in some of the corners, emptied out a full trailer load of junk that had been piled up in and around the old hen house, closed old openings, remade old doors, added little hen doors with steps, spread out fresh hay and just today we made them a pen. We plan to add a second pen so that we can rotate them in the hopes they don’t strip the foliage completely. We shall see!
Now if we can just keep the foxes and possums away as well as our Border Collie, who has unfortunately (and apparently though we’ve never caught him red-pawed) developed a liking for them. We sell extra eggs for $3 per dozen, which around here is somewhat of a bargain for farm-raised, free-ranging hen eggs, but honestly it sometimes pays for the feed. Nonetheless, we don’t have to buy store eggs anymore and the children are learning responsibility as well as nature in living color with our 20 hens and 1 rooster.
We left them out in their pen while we headed to the Wally World yet again and to buy some mattresses as well. Mo assured me they would go inside at dark and be waiting for us to close up their hen door when we got home. I was not so sure, but he was right. They had all gone back inside by the time we got home. We closed their door for the night, and refilled one of their feeders. We also found 2 more eggs. Talk about fresh! And yes, on occasion, we’ve brought an egg in and fried it right up! YUM!
All in a day’s work at Stay Awhile Farm! Nighty-night hens!