Earlier this year, I shared a blog post, “Meet the Chickens“, about our young chickens that we bought in late May. Now, our chickens are five months old and some are starting to lay eggs daily. Currently, we find about four eggs a day, most of the white hens are laying eggs and a few of the speckled hens.
We originally thought we had two roosters, a white rooster and a little brown rooster. But as the chickens were growing we noticed that two were larger than the others. We had a black and a gray chicken that we assumed were broilers (for meat). A few days ago, my husband noticed that the large gray chicken started jumping on the other hens, just like a rooster. Then, he noticed that a gray chicken was crowing like a rooster, that’s when we realized that the two large chickens were indeed roosters.
They seemed to develop into crowing roosters a little later than the other two that we had. Since we cannot have that many roosters in one coop due to future fights, we will need to use those two large meaty chickens in delicious chicken noodle soup.
Pictured above is our new chicken coop which was converted from an old shed. The little chicken coop that we used previously was getting small for the chickens. One summer night, we noticed that some of the chickens were choosing to sleep on the coop roof to gaze at the beautiful starry night. Just kidding, they were running out of room inside the coop and had to revert to more space on top of the coop.
My dad found a old unused shed and brought it over to our house one evening. Then, my husband got to work converting the old shed into a chicken coop. The chickens do not need the entire inside space of the shed, so my husband built a wall out of plywood to cut the space in half. The unused half is used to store the chicken feed. He built a door made out of pallet wood for easy access to the chickens.
Recently, he added a real window on the side so they can look at the fields in the morning before we let them out. He also built nesting boxes with hinged doors for easy access to the eggs.
After researching online on how to prolong egg-laying in the winter, most sites recommended extra light in the winter time. Chickens need about 14 hours of light a day in order to produce eggs, which is an extra 6 hours in the winter due to shorter days. The chicken coop is too far from our house and it would be too expensive to run electrical wiring to the coop. So I bought this solar panel shed light and it works perfectly in the evenings to provide extra light, plus it was under $30!
The chickens are let out into our yard every day for a few hours, it is better for their health to be able to roam free in the yard. The chickens love to scavenge for small insects and worms which leads to a balanced diet, and a healthier chicken. Plus, we all hear about free range eggs being healthier for us to consume. Logically it makes sense too, who would want to be confined to a small room every day of their life, even we humans need to get fresh air every day.
I am so glad we have our own chickens, even though it adds more work to our list, it is great knowing where our eggs come from. The yolks from the eggs are so much more yellow than even store-bought organic free range eggs. One morning I was frying up some eggs for breakfast and had store-bought and fresh eggs, the color was much more orange on the fresh eggs vs. the store-bought eggs. Also, our children will gain the knowledge of where eggs come from, they will be able to help us collect the eggs every day.
Also, we are now down to 17 chickens out of 20. Two of the fluffy white headed chickens are now gone, one was a quick snack for our dog, and the other one never came back in the evening with the rest of the chickens. They were unique looking chickens and our daughter loved them, but when the second one disappeared, she told us, “At least the two chicken sisters are now together.”
Our white rooster is named “Sam” (named by Amelia), and the little brown rooster is “Pete”. Sam is very protective of his chicks and always wants to scare us away. Amelia does not go near him without a stick for fear of being attacked. Sam is always seen accompanied by this speckled hen. I am not sure if roosters have favorites, but she seems to always be on his tail.
The chickens are almost full sized now and are a sight to see. Our baby boy, Nathan, loves staring at them run around the yard.
A close up of the proud white chicken that laid one of the first eggs.
Our next project is to paint the old shed to give it a fresh look. We will probably paint it white a pop of red somewhere. Also, my husband want to add a larger fenced chicken run for them to have more space to run while we are not home. Two of the four roosters will most likely be gone this year, and the other chickens will hopefully start laying eggs before winter.
Let me know what you think of our new coop! I love to hear ideas and tips on keeping chickens healthy through the winter.
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