A couple of months ago, I decided I wanted some chickens. Cliff spent a whole day building a dwelling-place for two or three hens. It lacked a few things. A door, for instance. There was no way to get food and water into the structure. A few days after he finished that little project, he saw a small chicken-house advertised on Craigslist and said, "Here's what you need!"
So I purchased that. It had a door in the house portion, but I still had no access to the pen, where food and water needed to be. So, Cliff made me a door to the pen.
We traveled quite a distance to buy a couple of pullets, and then the guys who delivered the little chicken-house we bought sold me another hen. Three hens will lay more eggs than we can use, unless I plan to make deviled eggs for the holidays. The two pullets should have started laying soon after I bought them, but evidently the move upset their systems. The brown egg you see in the picture above is my first egg from my little flock; I found it in the nest yesterday.
The thing about chickens is that hardly any food in the house goes to waste. They will gladly eat any table scraps I take them. In fact, they start singing and pacing in the pen when they see me coming. They were all wild when I got them, but now they have no fear at all. They are pets, and I enjoy them. I've actually gotten rather attached to my hens.
Trouble is, the way things are now, they have to be tended daily. They often walk on the little feeder that holds their food, turning it over. If I bought a regular chicken feeder, it would take up a lot of space in their tiny pen. And every time it rained, the feed would be ruined. If I bought them a chicken waterer, that would take up even more space in their little yard.
Cliff has mentioned turning my old cabin into a chicken house, which would give them a lot more room. Far more room than three chickens require. However, I could buy a feeder and a waterer then, and would be able to leave them for a few days at a time if I so desired.
But wait, chickens shouldn't be confined inside a building all the time. They like to scratch and chase bugs. Around here, you can't just turn them loose in the daytime like my grandma used to do every afternoon: Red-tailed hawks are always on the lookout for something to eat, and out here dogs often run loose, presenting an ever-present danger.
A pen is required.
Guess who would be doing all this cabin-remodeling and pen-building? Yep, the same guy who built my original chicken-tractor that is now stored down by the ditch. The man who hates carpenter-work worse than I hate housework.
Don't even ask how much money we have already sunk into this chicken venture. But hey, they're pets. There's no limit to what we'll spend on our pets, right?
|Taken during an early-morning walk|