We still have way too many chickens but at least we didn’t add any this year. I wasn’t even tempted to get any more! Here’s the run down on what we have currently.
In coop #1 are the main laying hens. There are 10 red sex links and three pretty worthless Iowa Blues. My goal is to eventually have maybe 8 hens in this coop and have nothing in the other coops. You can kinda see the location. When I was facing this coop, the garden was to my back. That chair is where I sit when taking a break in the garden. To the right is the shop and in the back is the house. If you look way back and to the left, you will see Coop #2.
The chickens from this coop run free during the day and we only keep them penned up inside their fence if we’re gone for most of the day.
Coop #2 is one of those duplex type coops. I do not like this coop at all. There are chickens on the left and chickens on the right and to get to the door where I let them out and close them up, I feel like I’m walking into a funnel and often, a rabbit is in that area and when it’s trying to get away, it runs right into that funnel and then I have to wait for the rabbit to come out. This is also the coop where the snake was stretched across the window and in the darkness, I grabbed the snake instead of the cord to let the coop door down. It’s also the coop where we killed 3 snakes last year and where a snake killed one of our chickens. It’s also the coop that has a million mice living under neath it. Worse, to get the eggs (from the back side), the egg boxes are just a couple of inches above the ground and I’m so afraid there’s going to be something hiding under there and get me! I do not like this coop one bit! On the south side, there are about 14 bantams and on the north side, there are 5 bantams. That’s 32 chickens so far, right?
Coop #3 is another duplex. It is huge and thankfully, underpopulated! On the west side, there are 6 chickens – 3 Anconas and 3 Dominiques. On the east side, there are 6 chickens – 1 Dominique rooster, 1 Black Copper Maran rooster, 1 Speckled Sussex rooster (and believe it or not, there’s no fighting between them!), 1 Speckled Sussex hen and 2 Black Copper Maran hens. That’s 44 chickens, right?
You can see how close the two coops are. Coop #3 is inside the orchard fence. We plan to let these chickens run loose once the fruit trees grow a bit more so they’ll have some cover from hawks and buzzards.
You can see in the photo below that they will have plenty of room to roam but the trees just need to grow a bit to provide cover for them. I think the area that’s fenced is a bit over one acre and the fence is 8′ tall so I’m hoping they will stay within the fence. There are neighbors not far past the fence and they probably don’t want chicken poop on their porches.
Lastly, there are two hospital/jails. If we have an injured chicken or a mean chicken, they go into the hospital or the jail (both are dual purpose coops!) 🙂
Currently, there’s one Black Copper Maran hen in the hospital. She had been pecked til she was bleeding so she was separated. I’m not sure what we’ll do with her now because chances are, they’ll be brutal to her when she’s well enough to go back into the main coop.
As best I can figure it, we have 45 chickens . . which is at least 35 more than we need but . . they were so cute when they were babies.
We are going to decide which chickens we want and eventually have one breed. I vote for Buff Orpington. They’re good layers and nice chickens. Vince wants Anconas because they’re Italian. I’m kinda thinking one Italian might be enough around here and I’d hate to have to choose between chickens and husband! This is the Ancona rooster and one of his wives.
They’re really pretty chickens but they’re not real good layers. They lay a medium white egg . . when they feel like it, which is maybe 3 times a week.
The only thing for sure is that we have too many and we’re both ready to have fewer chickens.