Coops and Blooms

Spring has sprung at the Kuntry Klucker Farm, chicks are peeping and flowers blooming. I am going to dedicate this post to the plants and flowers of the chicken yard. It is no secret that I tend to go overboard when it comes to decorating the backyard for my girls, this will be a virtual tour, a flower walk if you will. So, I guess we will start from the coop closest to the yard entrance and work out way out.

When entering the backyard the first coop we come to is Henwarts. Henwarts is the newest addition to the “Coop-hood” and shares a large outdoor pen with The Kuntry Klucker. So thus some of Henwarts decor is shared with The Kuntry Klucker. In front of The Kuntry Klucker I have a row of cinder blocks. These blocks have two purposes, keeps the girls and the dirt in the outdoor pen area and doubles as planters for flowers. Every year in this cinder block row I plant petunias. I love these little super bloomers for many reasons. A few of  the most important are the fact that they display lot of color, tolerate the hot afternoon sun well, and most importantly hold up well around chickens. I do have a row of chicken wire in front of the cinder blocks to offer some protection against the girls pecking but this by no means keeps all of the girls out of the flower row. I have a few ladies that despite the obvious boundary will still hop over the fence and help them selves to an afternoon snack of petunia blooms. The petunia’s being the prolific bloomers that they are do not look any worse for the wear recovering very quickly.

The next coop we visit on our backyard tour is my largest coop The Kuntry Klucker. For this coop I thought that hanging flower baskets were perfect. Found at the dollar store these cute little baskets are just the perfect size for a few flowers. Instead of using cocoa liners that seem to loose their shape after the first two waterings I opt to use thick weed barrier to hold the potting soil. What cute chicken home wouldn’t complete without a window basket. Attached to the wood of the pen I have planted a variety of flowers in these baskets. Petunas once again taking center stage. I feel that they add a bit of fun to the girls homes.

As we proceed on our coop tour we come to The Coop De Ville. No one lives in this coop, but rather this coop is used for storage and a few nesting boxes. Even though no one lives here I still just cannot pass up an opportunity to decorate a coop. Like The Kuntry Klucker I have mounted hanging baskets to this coop as well. Once again Petunia’s take center stage.

Next we come to the spice garden. In this garden I have lot of things planted. The tall bush with the small red blooms is a red honeysuckle bush. Taller than me (I’m 5’8″), this bush is one of the largest in the garden. These highly fragrant little blooms blanket the whole backyard with a sweet fragrance and attract many butterflies and hummingbirds to the backyard, adding to the beauty of the girls surroundings. I have many of my kitchen spices planted here among the two coops that call this plot home. Roy’s Roost and Betsy’s Bliss are situated here among all the plants a spices. This year I planted a red butterfly bush, in a few months it will be beautifully loaded down with blooms giving the butterflies another place to rest and spread their wings. The chickens are fenced out of this garden area so all the creatures that visit these plants are protected from the girls. This allows many caterpillars to spin coccons among the thick foliage of many of the plants here.

In the center of this garden I have planted an Arona Berry bush (kin to the Acia Berry), this bush which too is taller than me has the most beautiful white blooms. I use many of the berries that this bush produces in my smoothies. The chickens also love these berries, another reason that I have to fence them out of this garden area. After the berries appear I make sure that the girls get a good share of the spoil which they go absolutely nuts for. Amongst other plants in this garden I have a Goji Berry Tree, Sage, Rosemary, Oregano, Thyme, and Mint.

Next we come to the TARDIS! This is one of the funnest coops in the “coop-hood”. This coop belongs to my son who is a massive Dr. Who fan, he even named all his Silkie girls after the characters in the Dr. Who series. Being that this is my son’ coop he did not want me to decorate it too heavily with flowers. After all the real TARDIS does not have flowers attached to the sides of it. Naturally, I had to agree with his point and allow him to put his personality into decorating his coop. I did however get away with planting a rare Red Hydrangea next to his coop. I thought that this plant would add a nice pop of red and contrast well with the blue of the TARDIS.

Finally we come to the Bantam Boutique! This coop too belongs to my son. Each of my boys have their own coop with their own special breed of girls. This coop is home to White Crested Polishes, my youngest son’s favorite breed. Again I have to lay off the over the top flower decorating but I got away with a few things. At the end of the Bantam Boutique I have a pot with several colorful annuals in it. The Polishes enjoy jumping on top of the pen to take a few samples from the flowers. On the far side of the Bantam Boutique I have planted two yellow butterfly bushes. Not only are these bushes beautiful, they offer lots of afternoon shade for the Polishes that call this coop home.

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With this we come to the end of our little backyard tour. Every year I pretty much plant the same annuals varying the colors from year to year. As far as the perennials, bushes, and spices I only replace them as needed. The girls seem enjoy their little piece of heaven living the good life here at The Kuntry Klucker Farm. As for me, getting to play in potting soil and frequent my local plant nursery is as close to blissful as it can get.

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I hope y’all enjoyed this post and the tour of my backyard, coops and blooms.

Till next time keep crowing, the girls and I will see you soon.

Before departing, below is a short video of The Kuntry Klucker Farm Chicken Yard.

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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The Kuntry Klucker Farm is in FULL Bloom

Its been a busy spring here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm. The coops have all been painted, seasonal annuals planted, and chicks flourishing in their new digs. Spring is always a busy time here but this year has been especially busy. I did something that I have never done before, painted all the coops in the expanse of one week. If your asking if I am crazy the answer is, yes! It was a hard task, but with the weather not being very corporative I had to strike with the iron was hot. That meant painting all the coop in a week between strong cold fronts, ahh, the joys of spring. I usually like to pace it out a bit more, but usually I have weather patterns that are bit more subtle. But you have to work with what you can, so all the coops got a new coat of paint in the span of a week. The girls seem to enjoy their newly updated homes.

The TARDIS in particular got quite the facelift. This coop which is home to my “little kuntry klucker’s” Silkie’s is a huge Dr. Who fan. He named his coop the TARDIS from the beginning even painted it a TARDIS blue to match. This year during our coop painting projects the TARDIS finally got it official lettering. Might I add that he did all this work himself, he is quite the budding artist. Those that follow Dr. Who will relate quite easily to his art work. Those that are not Dr. Who fans that is more than ok, I am a recent convert myself, so I understand. With out further ado, I unveil the chicken TARDIS here on the Kuntry Klucker Farm.

Two other coops additionally got their official lettering. Henwarts and the Coop De Ville. But first, Henwarts. Earlier this spring I added a 7th coop to the “coop-hood” here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm. This coop was named “Henwarts”. Named after the Hogwarts School of Magic only with a bent towards chickens. Henwarts has officially been added to my growing collection of chicken coops. Painted after the colors of Raven Claw, one of the four houses at Hogwart. I thought that this theme would fit well for a flock of Buff Laced, White Crested, and Tolbunt Polishes. The residents of this coop will officially move in in a few weeks. They are still being kept with the other chicks till they are old enough to move into their own coop.

Finally, the Coop De Ville. I have had this coop from the beginning. During the infancy as we were drawing up the plans for the Kuntry Klucker Farm it consisted of two large coops like the Kuntry Klucker. However, I found a need for a storage area for garden tools and so forth. So instead of attaching a pen this coop stayed as it was for a long time, an unfinished storage area. Well, this year I finally decided that it needed a name and a theme. So I decided on the name “Coop De Ville” and the color theme of John Deere. Its a bit of a mix match but I feel that it suites that chicken yard very well. So, showing her colors for the first time here on The Kuntry Klucker, the Coop De Ville. It’s still a storage area for garden tools, but I allow the girls to go up into the coop and lay eggs there by setting out a few nesting boxes. The girls really seem to enjoy the quietness of this laying area.

Now that the spring planting season on the horizon tilling the garden is my next task, in the mean time the girls have been helping me plant annuals. The girls know what fun awaits them when flats of flowers and bags to potting soil come into the backyard. I get lots of “hen-help” with planting the flowers in the various potting arrangement in the chicken yard area. They enjoy tasing all the different colors of the flowers and of course dust bathing in the potting soil bag. A hen’s life here is a good one.

And finally the chicks! These were the little peeps that were in my indoor brooder just a few short weeks ago. Chicks grow so fast is almost insane. Anyway, they moved from the brooder to the TARDIS which was their outdoor brooder for a short time. Then as they outgrew the TARDIS they move to Henwarts for a short while, as they needed more space they finally ended up at their final coop location The Kuntry Klucker. The Polishes will take up residence in Henwarts when they are a little older. They have taken to the move and adjusted well. They love the extra room for flying and of course all the meet and greets they get from the other girls as they walk by the Kuntry Klucker to see what all the peeping is about. The older girls are getting to know the new kids on the farm as the new kids are getting to know them. In just a few short months they will be out in the yard enjoying the plentful bounty in the backyard.

Well, I think that pretty much does it for the news here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm. All feathered residents are doing well awaiting the next exciting event, tilling and planting the garden. I will start tilling up the garden in the next few days providing the weather cooperates.

Till next time, keep on growing, we’ll be back soon.

~ The Kuntry Klucker Farm Crew ~

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Welcome to Henwarts!

Hello everyone, I know its been a while since I posted a blog. Some of you have reached out to me to make sure all is well. I want to say how much I appreciate your concern and thank you for caring. We are all fine, the girls are good and we are looking forward to spring and nicer weather. This past winter has been a tough one, between snow, frigid temperatures and lately the torrential unrelenting rains it has been a tough season.

I am sure that many of you have read or heard in the headlines about all the rains that the southern part of the United States has received, well this is us. It has rained here the entire month of February, even into March we are still dealing with wash out weather. Our home and the girls coops have luckily been spared. The only damage we sustained from the heavy rains was to one of our cars which had to make a visit to the shop. Not because we drove through high water but for other moisture related reasons due to the constant heavy rain. Anyway, it has been a trying time for us here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm. They girls are doing fine, all are still alive and well, looking forward to dryer weather and warmer conditions.

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The girls and I have a full on case of spring fever, with the grass greening up and the spring bulbs pushing through the ground we cannot help but look forward to better days. With that being said, if there is one thing that spring means here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm its chicks!! That’s right, the girls are going to be welcoming new neighbors to their yard.

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But before we get to the chicks, let talk about the new coop that is being erected on our farm. The “Big Girls” are used to the yearly constriction that takes place on the Kuntry Klucker Farm, they know what it means. But the Bantams that we added a few years ago and last year are new to the routine. They don’t know what it means yet but they soon will. Needless to say I had lot of help getting the new coop set up.

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As all coop construction begins, I make a timely visit to my local Tractor Supply Store. This years addition is an Innovation Pet Deluxe Farm House Coop. I have several kit coops on my property, my favorite brands is Innovation Pet. They do such a great job in coop design and place a lot of care into the durability of their products. This is my third Innovation Pet coop purchased from Tractor Supply.

During the months of March and April Tractor Supply has their “Chick Days” sale. This is when chicks appear in their stores along with coops and in the case of this purchase mark downs. I purchased this coop for $160, it was half off, so I was needless to say thrilled to get this quality coop at such a steal.

Anyway, as all coop projects begin, the unboxing. Typically as we unbox the coop we place the coop portions on one side of the yard and the pen portions on the other side of the yard. Next comes inspections. The girls and I look at each piece to make sure that they all look good and no improvements are needed before assembly.

Here the “Big Girls” are making sure that the new addition passes a rigorous pecking inspection process. They Bantam Crew does their own inspection, but since they are newer to the scene they are not too sure what to look for. They are a bit more cautious but are curious nonetheless.  Two of my White Chested Polishes, Aphrodite and Athena are taking a look at the new coop under construction.

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As the sections come together, we get more inspectors throughout the process. Several hours later, the project is complete and our new addition is placed in the “coop-hood” here on the Kuntry Klucker Farm.

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This coop will be the fancy new digs for 8 Black Australorp Chickens. The Australorps are a new breed that I am introducing this year to the Kuntry Klucker Farm. I have wanted this particular breed for several years and am just now finally getting around to adding them to the existing flock consisting of Buff Orphingtons, White Crested Polishes, Silkies, and Cochins. These girls are the stars of egg laying. The record holder for the most eggs laid in a single year belongs to an Australorp. These are large birds that have beautiful black plumage, black legs, and stunning red combs. I am thoroughly excited to add these black beauties to my backyard flock.

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The name of this coop will be “Henwarts” after one of my favorite book series, Harry Potter. Since I am a Ravenclaw as depicted by the qualities the houses exhibited, the coop will be painted blue and silver the colors associated with the Ravenclaw house. This is also fitting for a group of chickens to be in a coop painted the colors of the Ravenclaw house at Hogwarts. The Black Australorps will look absolutely stunning in this coop once everything is complete.

As for the chicks themselves. They arrive next week, I will of course be back with a post from the brooder after they arrive. So once again the chicken adventure continues and grows as we add a few more girls to the Backyard Divas here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm.

I hope that you enjoy this post. Once again I am so sorry for the lack of posts, but as we move into spring there will be a lot of share with you. I will be back soon with pics of the chicks once they are situated in the brooder. Their little lives will be captured here for you to see and enjoy.

Till next time, keep on crowing! See you soon!

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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Prefab vs. Hand Built Coops

Hi everyone, this post is going to be a little bit different than my normal posting. I have received a lot of questions from my readers inquiring what chicken coops are best, prefab coops or hand build coops. For those who are not familiar with what a prefab coop is allow me to explain. When I refer to prefab coops I am talking about coops that you see in farm stores, such as Tractor Supply or Rural King just to name a few. They come in boxes and require assembly which is very simple only needing a screw driver and a little elbow grease.

Many chicken keepers do not like them and recommend that new comers build their own coop. I for one am of a differing opinion. I built my first coop and I added 4 prefab coops later. I will say that I love the prefab coops and that they make very viable options for those who cannot build a coop for various reasons whether they be financial, physical limitation, or conceptual reasons. Woodworking and carpentry is not for everyone, it is hard work and can be very expensive and dangerous especially if you have never worked with wood before. So to those who want chickens and hear the “if you don’t build the coop its not a coop” rhetoric this post if for you. This is the story of my journey in both building a coop and owning prefabs. I hope that it helps.

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I built my first coop, the Kuntry Klucker. I love my big coop but I will say it was the hardest most dangerous project that I undertook. I was new to chickens and followed the advice of more experienced keepers, one of which was don’t buy a prefab coop build your own. Not knowing much this is what I did. I found through this endeavor that I have no business using power tools. I nearly killed myself twice and spent $1500 more than I had intentionally set out to spend. After I cut the wood too short or at wrong angels it got expensive. I realized that this was really bad advice that I followed from more experienced chicken keepers. I had never built anything before, so this was my first and last experience with wood working and carpentry in general.

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So how did I come to love prefab coops. Well, as the saying goes you cannot have just one. I feel in love with chickens and wanted more. I knew from my past experience that building my coop was a suicide mission so I looked elsewhere. I began to entertain the thought of prefab coops against the better judgement of other poultry keepers. The fact was simple, I can not build a coop so I had to seek out other options.

To start I read reviews, most will say that it looks good but the quality is poor. This is a general across the board review that you will see for a prefab coop. Don’t let this bother you, the coops given a little love will do just fine. Anyway, knowing this I ordered one with a plan in mind. When it arrived I put it together and was actually shocked at how well it was actually made. Drawing from my experience from my coop building disaster I updated the hardware cloth, updated the latches, and gave the wood a good coat of barn paint followed by a good water seal. The results were stunning!!! No only did I not kill myself building the “kit coop”, all I needed was a screwdriver inserted of a power saw. But after I made my adjustments is held up well, and I mean well. I live in the steamy south in East Tennessee. We get hot summers with lots of humidity, nasty spring storms, and ice in the winter. Mother Nature throws it all at us. Through this my prefab coops have held up very well. I do touch up the paint about every other year, the hardware cloths and latches are still fine.

After my experience with my first prefab coop which now has 5 years under its belt, I ordered more as my flocks grew. I now have 5 coops currently in operation, 4 of them are prefab coops. I have not had any predators get into my prefab coop, nor have I had any problems with the wood rotting (hence the paint and water seal). The Roofs hold up well and the durability of the structures have withstood everything mother nature has thrown at it thus far. I can honestly say that it would take a disasterous weather event to tear them down such a tornado or derecho. But if I get a tornado here I will have much more to worry about than just damage to my prefab coops. Additionally, I have them insured under my homeowners property damage clause. I will just put them in with all the other things we need replaced should we have to deal with a disastrous weather event.

So this is my story, I learned from experience that building your own coop as many suggest is just not feasible for everyone. I did it and nearly killed my self and I will never build one from scratch again. I have enough experience with prefab coops to honestly recommend them as a viable options for others who cannot or do not know how to built a chicken coop. They are a very good option. I will say that I will only get mine from Tractor Supply or a local co-op. Reason being… if it arrived damaged (so far none of mine have) they will replace or exchange it for me. If I order from Amazon I might be a bit screwed there. That would be my only advice. Prefab coops are great, but get it from TSC, Rural King, or local co op that sales them. If you have problems you can get help.

I am a small voice with respect to prefab chicken coops in particular. But I like to think that my experience and opinions will help others understand that there are other options and that prefab coops can make great homes for your chickens.

 

Thanks for reading. The girls and I will be back soon. Till next time keep on crowing.

~ The Kuntry Klucker, Bantam Botique, and TARDIS Crew ~

The TARDIS has landed!!

Hello again everyone!!! The girls and I have been doing well, trying to survive mud season here on the Kuntry Klucker farm. That annoying season between winter and spring, with all the rain we have had it is hard to keep up. Hopefully here in a few weeks we will start to dry out and begin getting the gardens ready for spring planting. In the meantime though we have been up to another coop project. That is right, the Kuntry Klucker Crew once again gets new neighbors. Allow me to introduce to you the TARDIS! For those of you who are Dr. Who fans you know very well what the TARDIS is. For those not so familiar, it stands for Time And Dimension In Space. On our farm here its Time And Dimension In Space chicken style!

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This coop is for my son. I have two little Kuntry Kluckers one of which has been bitten by the addictive chicken bug. We are huge Dr. Who fans so we looked around to find a coop that could best resemble a TARDIS. We lucked out and found this beautiful design at our local Tractor Supply. The girls of this coop will all be named after Dr. Who companions, the boys will be named Strax and Hydroflax. The Kuntry Klucker Crew as always are very curious about anything that comes into the backyard the Bantam Boutique crew as well. So once again we add one more coop to our little coop neighborhood here at the Kuntry Klucker farm.

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This was by far the most complex of coops that we have put together. It took three of us working for 4 hours to finally bring the TARDIS to life. It is a very solid and heavy coop so I am confident that like the Bantam Boutique, it will handle whatever mother nature throws its way. So, once again the girls get to watch the construction of yet another coop in their coop-hood paradise.

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The box containing the coop was massive. It took up the entire bed of a large pickup truck to get it here. Since this coop weighs upwards of 150 pounds, we opened the box on the drive way and carried it to the backyard piece by piece for construction. Due to the enormity of this coop I had to keep the Kuntry Klucker and the Bantam Botique Crew in their pens for their safely. From inside their pens there were very attendive to what was going on around them. We were serenaded by Enigma who through his crowing let us know that we were being heavily supervised.

Once we hauled the coop piece by piece to the backyard construction began on the TARDIS.

Whenever I put a new coop together I make sure that I have a good quality heavy weed fabric under the coop. This keeps mud from taking over the runs when it rains and gives a good base to lay sand in the pens. It also has the added benefit of keeping weeds from growing around the coop. It’s not anything that  has to be done by any means, it is just a little extra thing that I add for the comfort of my girls.

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Four hours later, construction of the TARDIS was complete. It stands at the highest of 6 feet. I can easily walk into the coop and have a little room to spare. We really like the walk-in design and I am sure they girls will too since we will be able to visit them in their coop. The walk-in design will also make it easier to clean, which my little Kuntry Klucker will be responsible for.

Now that the coop is constructed the fun begins. Like all my coops I make sure that I put a good layer of mulch around them. This keep mud and weeds down plus affords me the ability to plant herbs around the coop and pen. The herbs are two fold, one I use a lot of herbs in my cooking and since most bugs don’t like herbs they are natural deterrent keeping bugs away from my girls. Its not full proof but it does offer some deterrent to insects. That combined with keeping the coop and pen clean really goes a long way.

After enclosing the outdoor run area in chicken wire and a little white picket fence for decoration and laying mulch its ready to be chicken tested. The chicken wire is to keep the Big Girls out of the Silkie pens while keeping the Silkies contained in their run area. Since the TARDIS Crew is so much smaller than the Kuntry Klucker Crew I have to take precautions to reduce injury. The TARDIS Crew loves their new digs.

Looks like the 4 current residents love their new digs! This coop will house 9 Silkie Bantams. I have 4 right now, the other 5 will arrive in May. After they new clutch gets to be the size of these guys I will begin to introduce them to their new digs and TARDIS companions. The Bantam Boutique has new neighbors!!

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Enigma is not too fond of the neighbors yet. He is still trying to get his little mind wrapped around the fact that their is a new coop next door. But in the meantime its really funny watching him try to make since of it. I am sure that in a few weeks he will accept his new neighbors and enjoy the company next-door.

So once again the land scape of my backyard has changed. We are really excited about our new addition and the chicks to arrive in May. I will also be adding more chickens to the Bantam Boutique Crew as well. I have 4 Bantam Frizzle Cochins that will be added to the current residents of the Bantam Boutique. That will be a post to come later.

For now, the kid loves his TARDIS coop and the Silkie girls love their news digs.

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Welcome to the Coop-hood!! The TARDIS has landed!

 

Thanks for taking time to catch up with the girls and I. We have a lot of exciting things coming up in the next few months as we prepare for spring planting and a new batch of 9 chicks to arrive. We will catch up with you soon. Till then keep on crowing.

~ The Kuntry Klucker, Bantam Boutique, and TARDIS Crew ~

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Details on the Girls Digs.

Hi All, I hope that this post finds everyone well and staying cool if it is anything like it is here. Here in the hills of East Tennessee the girls and I have been braving near 100 degree temperatures. So far we are no worse of the ware just having to take things a bit slower and take care to keep the girls as cool as possible.

This post is going to be a bit different. I have had several readers express interest in the details of “The Kuntry Klucker”. I have several comment and inquires about the construction of the coop and pen so that they can use our design to make their own pen for their flock. So, in this post I am going to include as many pics and as much commentary as possible to describe the construction of our set up.

I do not have any plans or blueprints for our design, we really did just built this off the cuff. We have no formal experience in either carpentry or construction. So this was indeed hubby and I nailing together wood in the form of a pen to give our girls a nice home. So far it has withstood mother nature for 6 years, so apparently we did a pretty solid job for not being experts in the field of construction. Ok, so without further ado, I present the details of “The Kuntry Klucker”.

First lets talk about the coop. The coop itself is about 7×5 feet. The roof is a bit harder to pinpoint because it is slanted as to move the rain and water off the coop towards the back. The roof is noting special, it is just scrapyard sheet metal. I like metal because noting can chew or claw their way into the coop from the top. It stands about 2 feet off the ground to discourage any varmits from living under or digging into the coop from beneath it. Additionally, during the rainy season if the pens floods (which it has at times) the girls remain safe, dry, and warm inside the coop.

The coop has several features that I added to it that make it a great home for my girls. First off, the side door, which I call the egg door is a dual purpose door. I open this door to collect eggs which are right inside in the nesting box. Secondly, it is a great opening  to use during the summer to put a box fan in the coop for extra ventilation and cooling in extreme summer heat. And Finally, when conditions are good I have a removable latter that I attach to allow the girls access to the outdoor run area. I currently have them in the pen due to severe storms expected later this afternoon. Once they are out in their play yard they hate to come in. So I have to keep them confined to the pen when we are expecting bad weather.

Two of the roosts are built into the coop, and one roost is removable. The one that is removable I use to keep the majority of the shavings on the side of the coop where the roosts are. Otherwise, they would spread them all over the entire floor of the coop.

The lower back of the coop in on hinges so that I can lift up the entire flap to get access to the coop for cleaning, filling feeders, and giving them fresh water. Inside the coop I keep a 1 gallon feeder and waterer. Doing times of severe weather they will often times reside in the coop till the storm has passed. In this summer heat I don’t want them to be without water so I keep a small supply of food and water in the coop. They tend to use it more in the winter time when it is too cold to go out into the pen.

cleaning the coop is very easy. Each morning I turn over the bedding with the droppings from the night before. I usually clean it out complete and replace with new shavings when it gets really dirty or stinky . Usually about twice a month or so. In the winter it is more frequent due to the fact that they spend more time in the coop.

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The coop has a solid wood waterproofed floor. So they stay plenty warm in the winter and cleaning the wood floor is a breeze. A few times a year I will spray it out with a hose to get all the dust and other debris out. It dries fast and I put clean shavings in and other necessities back in their place.

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Ok, so now for the pen. The pen is about 7×14. It is roughly 7 feet at the peak. I am 5’8″ and can stand up with my arm above my head to hang things and have no trouble. It is tall enough for a grown man to comfortably walk in and do chicken chores. I know this because hubby at times has to pitch in and he does not hit his head on the top beam of the pen.

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the pen is connected to the coop. We literally have 4 2×4’s attached to the coop to both offer stability of the coop and closing gaps to not allow any critters access to the pen and coop. The large boards that serve as the foundation or footers of the pen are cemented into the ground by about 6 inches or so. they are very wide boards, I think they are 2×8 or something near to those dimensions. So nothing is able to dig under to get into the pen. Also, since we have a ring of cement under the pen providing the foundation it is impossible for the wind to lift the pen into the air if we have a huge storm.

Part of the design in the pen’s wind worthiness is that we allow the wind to pass through. Above the door is a triangular opening which allows wind to pass into the pen. Opposite it, above the coop is the same triangular opening allowing the wind to exit the pen. With the tarp being our roof, wind could easily get trapped and lift the tarp in attempts to decompress causing both damage to the construction and injury to the girls. With these wind funneling points and the fact that the pen is securely cemented into the ground it has braved some very instense storms .

Now for the form of the pen in general. It has 4 main 4×4’s forming the corners of the pen. Two in front at each corner, and two in back in front of the coop. One central bean where the “rafters” of the pen are attached to. The side beams are angled for a plumb attachment to the large 2×8 beams that are part way buried under the ground. The rest of the roof boards are 2×4’s which just attach the central beam.

The top of the pen is lined with galvanized fencing so that no animals can get access to the pen even if they manage to rip the tarp. The tarp which acts as the roof just lays on top of the fencing and is secured at the bottom of the tarp. The tarp is easily replaced if hail or other elements get the best of it. This was our way to construct a budget friends roof. With a pen this size, constructing an actual roof with shingles and so forth would be both hard and expensive. It could be done but we decided on this instead.

The tarp provides much shade and rain protection. If we get a storm that has some pretty severely wind driven rain the outer permitter  of the pen will get wet. But for the most part the middle of the pen will stay nice a dry. The tarp has a long over hang which provides a lot of of protection even to wind driven rain. But once in a while when we get a doozy of a storm the permitter of the pen will get wet. Only once to twice has it actually flooded. This is usually when we get hurricane remnants pass over that drop rain for days. In these storms even basements flood so I don’t think anyone is really safe in these situations. When this happens, the girls usually stay in the coop so its not really a big deal. It drains pretty fast once the rain stops.

I hang the food and water from a beam forming the roof. I do this to keep them from accidentally spilling it, and also to keep debris from them scratching around from getting into the food and water. They are heavy galvanized chains to support the large waterer and feeder. I also hang various other decorations from the roof including the power cord that supplies power to the fan and their christmas light. I keep their lights on year around, and their fan going in the summer as long as it is hot.

The door of the coop is just a large human sized door attached to the pen with heavy fencing hinges, handle, and latch. It is large enough to get a wheel borrow in the pen for cleaning if needed. It is a heavy door which also offers protection from predators. At the bottom of the door is what I call the “chicken door”. This little door opens to allow the girls access to the backyard. This way they can come and go in and out of the pen without leaving the door wide open. This keep wild birds and other things for getting into their pen when they are free ranging. I am not sure of the dimensions of this little door. It is large enough for my standard Buff Orphingtins girls to come and go comfortably without getting stuck. My big rooster Roy can even stand in the threshold without any problem. This is by far my favorite feature of the pen, people just love the little pet door on the large human sized door.

There is a heart cutout on the door so that the girls can see out from the other side of the door. They get pretty excited when I open it, I think they are trying to figure out the latch. It opens and attaches to the large human sized door so that it does not close on them leaving them stranded and no access to their pen. Every now and again we have to replace this door because they tend to peck at it more than any other part of the coop. We just trace the previous door, use a jig saw to cut a new one, reuse the hardware and a new door is installed. there is also a barrel latch in the inside of the door for extra protection. Should a critter figure out  the outside latch they still cannot get to the inside latch to open it.

well, I think I am all out of details to talk about in terms of our coop and pen. I do hope that I was able to at least answer some of your questions. Hopeful all the pics were a big help too. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, I hope in this case it rings true.

Thank you for reading, till next time keep on crowing!

~The Kuntry Klucker Crew~

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The Crew and the Coop.

I thought I would take this time and dedicate a post to the beginning of the Kuntry Klucker Crew. I will also combine this post with the construction of their coop. I have received many comments on Facebook and other social media sites inquiring about our blueprints or plans that we used build their digs. To tell you the truth, we had no plans or blue prints. We also did not use a kit, we simply researched on what they needed, got the supplies and built what we could.

But first the crew. I mentioned in another post that the girls arrived via the mail in a small box. I am not kidding, they really did arrive in a small box, it was the cutest things I ever saw. I have never ordered chicks before, so this was a new one for me. I have ordered live plants via the mail that were delivered to my door, but never chicks. Below is a pic of their transportation digs.

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It was a cold morning when they arrived. I could not wait to get the contents of the peeping box unpacked and transfered into their warm brooder.

After bring them inside I took them out of the box one by one, showed them their food and water then set them down softly into their brooder. Immediatly they began to eat, drink, and warm themselves under the heat lamp. They scratched, peeped, and took in their surroundings, and thus our journey began.

My brooder was origionally a large , grey, rubber made tote, which did not last long. As they grew, so did their digs. Instead of getting a new brooder I just added to it as they needed.

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So as one living space got too small, I would cut hole in the box and attach on another box. By the time it was all said and done they had a network of several boxes to navigate through. It was almost like a brooder palace by the time I attached the final box.

They pretty much had a house and floor plan complete with rooms. Lets see, there was the room (box) with the food and water (kitchen), the room (box) with the heat lamp (lets call that the living room), and a room (box) for gathering (we can call that the recreation room). The brooder was quite a network of boxes. They seemed to navigate it well and had lots of fun scratching in all the shavings and running throughout their digs. The brooder days were fun, but they could not stay in there forever. So, while they were growing and discovering, we were busy building their new home in the backyard.

Our coop and pen are pretty much a very simple design. We have a penthouse coop, or a coop that is raised off the ground by about 2 feet. This keeps ground water from seeping into the coop and rodents from chewing into the coop or making a nest under it. I like this design, especially during seasons when we seem to get a lot of rain. Their pen has flooded several times and each time I am so glad they were clean and dry in their coop.

Once the coop was built, we then attached the pen.  The pen is just a simple rafter design which we attached to the coop. After we assembled all the wood forming the roof and frame, we then enclosed the whole structure with hardware cloth and galvanized metal fencing. This protects the girls from predators and also keeps them from escaping out of the pen. The roof of the pen also has metal fencing, this is to keep anything from flying or dropping into the pen. They girls are very secure in their pen. When I am not home they stay safe and dry in their pen. I will also confine them to their pen if there is an unusual amount of hawk or other arial bird of prey activity. We have had several occasions where I had to keep them in the pen to discourage a scouting hawk or two. The girls seem to take it in stride, they know they are safe in their house.

For the roof we just use a large tarp. This provides them shade and of course protection from the rain and other elements. Since the top of the pen has metal fencing, we did not need to add the extra expense of building an actually roof. The tarp does the job well. We replace it every other year or so to keep it in good condition. It does start to ware out after a few years. They are fairly cheap and very durable. This design meets both our budget and needs of the girls.

After we had the pen built and attached to the coop, it was time to paint and decorate. I chose to paint their coop and pen door a barn red. I then painted the trim white. I knew from the beginning when we decided to have chickens that I wanted an Americana theme for their home. It has been a work in progress and has morphed as the years have gone by. It took some time find the decorations and accents that I wanted for their home. After several years I finally had the complete project. I repaint the coop about ever other year. I do this to keep the wood in good condition and protected from the elements. We change out screws and wood in the pen as needed.

The design for their front door is our unique take on allowing them access to the backyard. At the bottom of the large door leading into the pen you see a small pet door. We call this the “chicken door”, this allows us to let them out of their pen without having to keep the large human size door open. I do this to discourage birds and other arial prey from flying into the pen. If there is a hawk scare the girls will run back to their pen and find safely there because the hawk cannot follow them in. Additionally, we cut out a heart window at their level to allow them to see out the door.

This was my husbands idea and by far my favorite design feature of their home. I think it is just the cutest thing to see them peering at me as I make my way to see them. When I unlock the latch to let them out, I usually get a willing head to assist me in working the lock. The door just lifts up and latches onto the large pen door to keep it open.

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That is all I have for now. If you have any questions about our coop that you would like an answer to, please post in the comments. As always, thanks for following our adventures.

~The Kuntry Klucker Crew.~

 

 

Welcome to the Coop.

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Hi, well I guess I should introduce myself and give you a bit of info on the purpose of this blog. My name is Noelle and I guess you could tell by the images, I am a backyard chicken keeper. I started my journey about 5 years ago when I wanted some chickens to help me on my hobby farm. Now most people when they think of chickens, they think of eggs. Well, that is definitely a plus of having your own hens in your backyard. However, I was thinking of them more of composers and garden associates.

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They make the best compost (poop) in their coop all winter long, which I then spread on my gardens in early spring. The plants love their coop shavings and in return give me a nice yield. But, even better, chickens make great exterminators, they will eat just about anything that flies, craws, or hops in the backyard. I don’t have to use all the dangerous pesticides that I normally would because I have my feathered exterminators to do that for me. But most of all I would have to say they are my best friends in the backyard. I cannot work in the garden with out one of my girls there looking for any grubs that I might have uncovered. They are great friends to have when I do my garden work, and make such attractive yard ornaments as they go about their days work of eating bugs, tilling, and clucking with glee when they find something delicious.

In this blog, I plan to share with you the joy of keeping chickens. When I tell people that I have chickens as pets, I get lots of different responses. Some think I am crazy to keep chickens as pets. They are mostly seen as live stock animals that are void of all compassion and emotion. I am here to say put that myth to bed. I also get response of curiosity, when people think of chickens they think of the poor sad looking things in cages. They do not think of chickens as being attractive or even fun. I too will dispel the myth that chickens cannot make loving pets. But before I go to far I should probably introduce the flock and explain the name behind my blog.

 

Our coop is called The Kuntry Klucker. I chose this spelling because I thought it was fun and different. I like to be original and this name just fit. We live in the country and of course there is lots of “klucking” going on. So nope, I did not misspell the name of my blog, the spelling was intentional.

The gang consists of 12 hens and 1 Rooster named Roy. Roy is a character, he loves figs, spaghetti, and corn. I am the only one who can go out the the coop and pick him up. Everyone else he deems is an enemy that must be exterminated. This even includes my own family members. He has mellowed out some as the years have gone by, he has never attacked anyone, he just like to crow at them and pretend that he is a fearsome bird.

He is really the sweetest rooster I have ever known. I am not sure what I would do without him. I love to wake up in the morning to him greeting the dawn. He runs like clock work, an alarm clock that never goes out of power or relies on batteries. I never knew the joy of roosters till I had him. He is the king of the backyard.

Now for the girls. As I said I have a dozen hens which I affectionally call “my girls”. We have…

Miss Bossie (The alpha hen) I will get to more of her later

Miss Katie (The forever broody mama) more on her later too

Miss Sweet Pea (The prize personality hen) more on her later too

Miss Little bit

Miss Little Pea

Miss Lady

Miss Betsy

Miss Piggy (The hungriest Hen) she is always eating

Miss Liberty

Miss Lady Bug

Miss Tennessee

Miss Lucy Goosie

Now most people ask me how I tell them all apart. Well, I have a little secret. I dress my hens up, that is right, they all wear the latest in Hen Fashions. I do it because it protects their back from the rooster but also acts like a name tag.

 

Yep, that is right my girls wear dresses!! They love their outfits and protest when I take them off for washing. They each have their own individual personalities and I try to match the outfit to it. For example, here is Miss Sweet Pea, she is the smallest of all the hens, and the sweetest. However, she is also a flight risk. You see, she is so light that if we get a big gust of wind it is not uncommon for her to ride the wind over my 6 foot wooden privacy fence. I have to make sure she stays in the pen on really windy days or days when we have severe weather because she will ride the wind. So her outfit always has butterflies because she is a free spirit.

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Now Miss Katie, she is my perpetual momma hen. She loves sit on egg and hatch babies. She has hatched two clutches for me. She is the best momma and has earned her name as the Momma Hen. She is blind in one eye, has been since hatching but that does not stop her.

Than we have Miss Bossie, she is the alpha hen. What this means is, she is at the top of the pecking order just under Roy. I am sure you have all head about the pecking order of chickens. They are very social animals and have a rigid social structure. Everyone know their place within the hierarchy. They compete for their position and must hang on to it. Well Miss Bossie has climbed to the top. She is also my bad girl, well in a funny sense. She is my escape artist my “hen-didi”. If there is a breach in the coop security, she will find it. But she is also my helper in that I use her to make their coop safer by securing up escape routs. So for that reason she has skulls on her outfit. There is one outlaw in every barnyard and well she is ours.

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I have many more chicken adventures to share. But for now I will stop here, it has occurred to me that it is snack time. I am late so Roy is letting me know with his constant calling (crowing) for treats. Speaking of treats, that is a subject of much entertainment, chickens love treats. I will post about that next time.

Till next time take care, and keep on crowing. The girls and I will be back soon!!

The Kuntry Klucker Crew

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