Ready for Ol’ Man Winter

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Fall greetings every one! It’s amazing how fast the summer just flew by. I am not sure if everyone else has the same opinion, but for me if felt like one of the fastest summers on record. I know that the girls enjoyed the summer, they dutifully patrolled my gardens for bugs and made sure that they helped themselves to some of the spoil on the veggie plants they were maintaining for me. Although I enjoy summer and all of the pleasure it brings, I find myself ready for the seasons to change.

As summer turns into fall and my gardens produce the last fruits, it’s time to prepare for the season ahead. As a chicken owner this means several things, giving all the coops a good end of year cleaning and preparing them for winter.

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For me this means putting up the wind barrier that will protect the girls form the cold winter winds along with the winter precipitation. During the summer and warmer months I allow the coops to be as air friendly as possible. Allowing air to flow through the mesh fencing on the coops helps keep the girls cool during the months of late spring and early summer. But as the bite of fall and winter approaches I need to assist my girls in surviving the winter outdoors.

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After a thorough coop cleaning I begin to put up wind barrier plastic on all my coops. The plastic I use is found at Tractor Supply along with other stores such as Lowes or Home Depot. It is a construction grade plastic designed to be used as protection when building home and other building during inclement weather periods. It runs at about $15 per box, normally for all my coops I need to purchase two boxes. The process of putting up the plastic is relatively simplistic. I simply screw the thick plastic sheeting into the wood on all the coops. It is very durable so it goes up without much trouble.

I typically put the plastic sheeting up around Halloween after we get our first frost. The girls surprisingly don’t seem to mind the process of preparing thier coops for winter. They are great assistances is trial testing the plastic to make sure that is passes chicken industry standards. They have learned over the years that the plastic is an alley in their survival of the winter months.

Encasing the coops in heavy construction plastic does several things.

  1. In serves as a wind buffer. As the cold winds of winter blow the plastic sheeting protects the girls from the wind thereby making their coops and pens much more comfortable. Simply blocking the cold winter winds greatly assist the girls in keeping warm during the colder months.
  2. It keeps the pens dry by keeping the rain, snow, sleet, and ice out of the pens. This keeps the sand in the pens dry so that the girls will have a dry comfortable space to call home during the colder months.
  3. Is keeps the girls living quarters warmer naturally. As the afternoon sun radiates on the plastic it traps the warmth of radiation in the coop and pens. On fringed sunny days the pens will be a good 10 degrees warmer than the air outside. It acts as an isulater allowing the girls to stay warmer during the winter months

Before winter sets in I supply all the pens with a fresh bedding of sand. This allows the girls to dust bath in the sand. During the winter ,the ground outside stays wet and non condusive to dust bathing a very important natural activity for chickens. The plastic assists in keep the sand dry providing the girls with a dry and warm place to wait out old man winter.

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Additionally, I supply all the coops with Christmas light to give them a little extra light in the colder months. This also provides us with light to take care of our chores when the sun sets earlier and earlier. On cold winter night the Christmas lights give a soft glow of warmth and comporting coming from the coops.

I hope you have enjoyed this post on The Kuntry Klucker. As winter sets in I will do more posts on how to keep a flock of backyard chickens happy and healthy during the harsh winter months.

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

~ the Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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Can Backyard Chickens make you sick?

Hi everyone!! I hope your summer has been well and that you packed all the fun into it as humanly possible. I know I have been absent for a while, its been a busy summer. Its funny how the summer months can turn an average functioning family into a frenzy. Well that is what summer has been like for us, been busy with activities and of course keeping up what the girls, growing and harvesting season. With the majority of the gardens work behind me I wanted to take the time to touch on a subject that I have been asked by several of my followers. Can owning backyard chickens make you sick?

Earlier this month the CDC released an article/report that backyard chickens are responsible for salmonella outbreaks across the country. Sickening people even sending some to the hospital, but so far no deaths have occured, well that’s good. As fear riddening as this sounds I want to take the time and put my two cents in and tell my side of the story as a backyard chicken keeper.

The long and short of it is Yes, backyard chickens can make you sick, but so can your cat, dog, and pet parrot. You see any animal that lays eggs carries the salmonella bacteria, this include, pet turtles, snakes, bearded dragons, and of course backyard chickens. It is a bacteria that all egg laying animals/reptiles carry in their body. This is why it is advisable that one wash your hands good with soap and water after handling. It a pretty simple common sense step to take to avoid illness after contact with pets that can carry the salmonella bacteria. Not that this gets your cat and dog off free and easy without incident. Cats and dogs especially if they are allowed to run free outside can also make you sick. They too can come into contact with pathogens that can be transmitted to you. So really your small flock of backyard chickens are no more dangerous to your health then fluffy or fido.

So why does the CDC single out backyard chickens? Well, I think that the answer is two fold. One, keeping backyard chickens has a direct impact on the factory farm producers of eggs and for some, meat for the table. When consumers take it upon themselves to have a say in where their food comes from the big factory farm producers take a big hit.

It does not help their matters that the backyard chicken movement has exploded by leaps and bounds. Keeping backyard chickens is no more common than a family having a dog roaming the backyard. Even cities have passed laws to allow residents to keep a small number of hens in the small plots behind their homes. Its a movement that is growing every year which is one reason why people like me who blog about backyard chickens are seeing an huge increase in readers. Potential keepers are seeking out information on how to care and sustain a small backyard flock, this is where people like me come into play.

Secondly, I think part of the problem is that people are cuddling their chickens like they would a cat or dog and innevertatnly getting sick in the process. The CDC is right when they state that you should not kiss your pet chickens or allow young kids to hold chicks. This is because young children have an increase risk of putting their hands in their mouths after interacting with chicks. But this same rule can be applied to any pet, not just backyard chickens.

So, what is my stance you may be asking? Well to put it simply, wash your hands! I have been a keeper of backyard chickens for almost 10 years now, I have never become sick due to handling or having contact with my flock. The only chicken I have contracted illness from and took ill was from chicken that I ordered at a restaurant.

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My girls have never made me sick in anyway or caused any ill effect in the entire time I have been keeping chickens. Protecting yourself and your family from illness takes nothing more than a common sense approach. Whenever I come inside from interacting the girls the first thing I do is wash my hands well with soap and water. I don’t need to submerge my self in alcohol or bleach, a simple thorough hand washing is all that is needed. Additionally, I only wear my “coop” cloths into the backyard when interacting with my girls. Not only is this just a good common sense move, it keeps me from getting my nice cloths dirty. Chickens can be messy so I would not want to wear nice cloths to the backyard anyway. So wearing cloths that I don’t mind getting dirty that I wear no where else and take off and put directly in the washer after coming inside is nothing more than common sense.

So as you can see just taking simple steps after spending time with the girls is all that is needed. One need not be afraid to own or handle backyard chickens because all that is needed to protect yourself a simple act of washing your hands well after contact.

Now, as far as kissing backyard chickens this is probably advice well worth taken. I love my girls, but I never kiss them for several reasons. Chickens are very interested in human eyeballs, they look like treats to them, I cannot tell you how many times I have seen pics of people on facebook after getting pecked in the eye by their chicken. It hurts and in some cases and cause irreversible damage. So to keep my eyes safe I keep my face well out of the way of the curiosity of a chicken. It just makes perfect sense.

Secondly, kissing your chicken can be hazardous for your health. I know that a lot of people do, but the line stops there for me. I will tell my girls how much a love them and how pretty they are but my lips are never laid on them. They live outside bathe in dirt and can carry some pathogens on their feathers that I would rather not have in my mouth. So, my love line stops there, I do not kiss my birds. So, yes, backyard chickens can make you sick but the routes to avoid this are very simple and only require soap, water, and facial/eyeball distance.

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So, enjoy your backyard birds just make sure to wash your hands and keep your eyes and lips away from their curious beaks. If you practice good hygienic common sence you will have a very happy relationship with your girls enjoying all the benefits of having backyard chickens.

Till next time, keep on crowing.

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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Farewell Miss Katie

Hi everyone, I am sorry I have not posted in a while, it been a crazy summer. We have had a lot go on like I am sure you all do. Summer has a way of making your life maddening. Everything from the kids being home from school to summer camp and so forth can make for a busy summer. However, this blog post will possess more of a somber tone. We have lost one of our favorite hens a few weeks ago, Miss Katie. This post will be dedicated to her and her memory of her life on the Kuntry Klucker Farm.

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Farm life has a lot of joys, everything from watching new chicks grow into beautiful chickens to watching  a newly planted plant comes into it own. The connection that farm life bring you to nature and the earth is so fulfilling. However, along with all the joys and blessings that farm life bring, it also has a side that is sadder. The loss of a beloved pet is always hard whether it be a cat, dog, or in our case a beloved hen.

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Miss Katie was our momma hen, she loved to hatch eggs and raise chickens. It was her calling in life to be our resident momma hen. She did a wonderful job as well. She raised several clutches of Buff Orphingtons for me along with Miss Aphrodite, the chick that had a hard start in life several years ago. If Miss Katie had not raised Aphrodite for me she would have not made it. She needed a chicken mamma so Miss Katie took her under her wing and raised her into a beautiful and friendly polish hen. Aphrodite acts a lot like Miss Katie. Since Katie raised her she has adopted some of her personality traits. In Miss Aphrodite, Miss Katie although gone lives on here at the Kuntry Klucker Fam.

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Miss Katie was apart of my original shipment of chicks that started our adventures here on the Kuntry Klucker Farm. She was one of the original 17 chicks the I ordered. From early on she stood out as one of our friendliest hens. Not only was she apart of a flock but she considered herself to be a “human chicken”. She acted more like a dog than a chicken. When we went outside to spend time with the chickens she would be the first one to greet us and want to be picked up and held. She was also our backyard lap chicken. She loved to sit on our laps and talk to us telling us about her day of hunting and pecking with her flock mates in the gardens. She always had something to say. When she was not busy raising chicks she was little miss jabber beak. She loved to talk and connect with her human flock, that being my hubby, sons and I.

She loved human attention. All my girls are very friendly but Miss Katie went above and beyond the friendly line and wanted to be with her human flock members. She loved getting rides in the wagon and following us around the backyard as we did our chores and worked in the gardens. Whenever we were outside Miss Katie was there to follow us around and offer the help and support. She was one in a million. She was the gem of my flock and the friendliest hen I have ever known. I had no idea that a hen could be more like a dog till I had Miss Katie come to our farm. I am so glad that she was in the little peeping box that I picked up at the post office 8 going on 9 years ago. She has indeed changed our lives for the better.

Several weeks ago she came down sick, acting as though she did not feel well. I brought her inside and placed her in my hospital pen that I have in the house for any of my girls that need specific round the clock attention. I determined after much examination and research that Miss Katie’s heart was failing and the she was just getting old and that her remaining time with us was short. She lived out her remaining time with us inside in the living room surrounded by her “human flock” that she loved so much. She watched TV with us and listened to us as we talked in the family room. She was just apart of our family in a way she always wanted to be. As she slowly started to fail her heart gave out she laid down her head and went to her final sleep with the human flock around her. She lived a full life full of love and pampering care. At 9 years old, she had a very long and happy life. Even for a well cared for chicken 9 years is a long life.

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We buried her the next day in my little cemetery where I bury all my girls. It’s always sad when I lose one of my girls but Miss Katie was hard to say good by to. The life at the Kuntry Klucker Farm goes on but there is a big void left in the backyard since Katie went to rainbow bridge. I love all my girls but she was a special gal that left a hole in my heart and our flock. I am sure that I will never have a hen quite like Miss Katie. I am just so glad that I have Miss Aphrodite to carry on her legacy and personality.

Every time I step outside to take care of the girls I stop by her grave and say hi. I can still hear her in my minds eye talking to me about her day catching bugs and tending the gardens. Tales of ripe tomatoes, plump berries, juicy bugs and other goings on in the backyard still catch my ear. She loved to talk to us and help us tend the gardens. Life is not the same in the backyard, she will be missed and there will forever be a void left by Miss Katie. She was one in a million, and gem that I was lucky enough to have privilege to care for and pamper.

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So to you Miss Katie, I say thank you. Thank you for coming to our little farm and blessing our life with your presence. We miss you so much but we will be okay, I have peace knowing that you died surrounded by your human flock that loved you so much. As you sit on your perch at Rainbow Bridge check in on us every once in a while.

Till then, Fly high sweet girl, Fly High.

We love you sweetheart. ♥️

They’re Here!!

It’s that time again!!! Chick days are alive and well here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm. The girls are about to get some new neighbors. These little ones are going to call the Bantom Boutique and the Tardis home.

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Last November I ordered 9 chicks for this springs clutch. I ordered 9 Silkies an 4 Frizzle Cochins, a total of 9. Unfortunately one of the little Silkies did not make it. Among the surviving members are 2 Buff Silkies, 2 Black Silkies, and 4 Black Fizzle Cochins which will be added to The Kuntry Klucker Farm.

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For my brooder I use a puppy play pen and for the heat source I use a EcoGlow heater. The puppy play pen work very well as a brooder because it has raised sides which keep the shaving mess to a minimum and a closed top which keep the chicks from flying the coop. As they age they reach the flying phase which can frustrate many chick owners as they try to keep the chicks in the brooder. This product, although made for dogs doubles as a great brooder, all issues are covered in one simple setup.

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As dictated by tradition, day three of their life here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm is picture day! Chicks only have their soft downy appearance for about three days, after that they start to feather out and enter what I like to call the ugly duckling phase. So as always, I grab my camera and snap pics on the third day. I will share some of these with you below.

The 4 Frizzle Cochins will be joining the Bantom Boutique Crew when they are big enough to move out doors. The BB Crew will be known as the “freaky feather bunch”. When the Frizzle cochins feather out they will have a bit of a frizzle feather appearance, hence the name “Frizzle”. They will fit right in with the Polishes who have a bit of a frizzle appearance with their white crown feathers.

The Buff and Black Silkies will of course be joining the TARDIS crew which consists of 3 White Silkies and 1 Black Silkie. Currently I have one of the white Silkies sitting on a clutch consisting of 3 ceramic eggs. She went broody about 3 week ago, I plan to allow her to raise the 4 Silkie’s chicks for me and introduce them to the existing TARDIS Crew when she feels the time is right. I will of course chronicle this adventure for you as Miss Donna raises a clutch of 4 Silkie chicks. I had a successful adoption by Miss Katie our resident Buff Orphington Momma Hen last year. She did a great job in bringing up Aphridite for me. I hope to have the same success with Miss Donna. I will have a post about the adoption and my method coming soon.

But for now, we welcome the newest additions to the Kuntry Klucker Farm where chickens live like Kings, living the sweet life.

Here are few of the pics from our morning photo shoot. Baby pics!!

Stay tuned for a post on chick adoption by an existing broody. Till then, keep on clucking, the girls and I will see you soon.

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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It’s Tilling Day!!

Welcome back everyone!! Today is the day that the girls look forward to the most, tilling day. For those who don’t understand what all the excitement is about, allow me to explain. Tilling means two things, one the start of the next growing season and two, worms!! I am more excited about planting crops while the girls are more excited about the worms and bugs.

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I have lots of help here on the Kuntry Klucker Farm. My hubby willingly tills the garden for me while the girls enthuiastically follow him gobbling up any worms and bugs that the tiller disturbs. Its a big deal here at the farm. Below I will chronical the events of the evening.

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The tiller is awoken from its long winters slumber in the garden shed and brought to the backyard. Now most animals when they see something as scary looking as a tiller coming into the living quarters they respond in sheer panic, the girls not so much. The girls (with 8 years now under their wings) know exactly the bounty that shortly awaits them when the tiller makes it annual apperance. They flock to the tiller following the user to the garden where they line up for the imminent buffet.

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As the tiller turns the soil, worms and other delectables come to the surface which the girls delightfully gobble up. Now the rules of this chicken game is to be the chicken right behind the tiller. The hen that is closest to the tiller gets the worms first. Its a literal game of “the early bird gets the worm”. As you can probably suspect, there are squabbles for the first place position behind the tiller, but that’s all part of the fun.

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As the garden is further tilled the worms are more abundant so being the first hen in line does not matter as much. As the tiller makes its way around the garden, so do the girls. Instead of a line of hungry chickens, we then have circles of worm inspectors following the tiller. The human perspective of the excitement that the girls expereince is absolutely hilarious. We get as much joy out of watching them getting the worms as they do in getting the worms. Owning chickens is so much fun, this is just one of the delightful aspects that chickens bring to the backyard homestead.

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When the tiller has done its job and is returned to its place in the garden shed, the girls still work for a while longer. They will continue to further till the soil for me for the next several l weeks. Once the last frost has passed it will be time to plant the crops and the growing season begins. The girls will continue to work in the garden all summer long patrolling the plants for bugs and turning the soil as they search for delicious worms to feast on.

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The Bantam Botique and TARDIS crew on the other hand are new to all of this excitement. This is their first experience with the tiller, this time last year they were still eggs not yet hatched. Enigma and the crew are not sure what to make of the tiller. But if life can teach a chicken anything its to love the worm god, AKA the tiller.

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That is all the excitement for now, the girls will be busy the next several weeks helping us prepare for planting season. Thanks for stopping by, the girls and I will be back soon with a post on the new arrivals. New chicks will arrive May 11!! We here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm are anxiously awaiting their arrival.

See you soon, till then keep on crowing.

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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Spring has Sprung!!

Spring has finally sprung here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm. The days are finally getting longer and the weather is starting to warm up nicely. Along with longer days and warmer weather comes flowers and bugs. The girls in particular are excited about the bugs whereas I am a bit more excited about the flowers. But no matter the excitement whether it be over bugs or flowers spring means one thing, planting season!

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Things are about to get real busy here at the Kuntry Kluckr Farm and the girls are very excited. First we took the plastic down from around the coops. I put this up in late fall to protect the girls from the chilly winter winds and participation. The plastic helps to keep the coop and pens warm and dry while keeping rain, snow and ice out. All the girls appreciate the added protection and consequently spend more time in the coop and pen where it is warm and dry as opposed to outside. But as the weather warms the girls spend less time in the pen and more time in the backyard doing what chickens do, hunting and pecking.

After taking down the winter protection from around the coops it was coop cleaning day. I deep clean the coops once a year usually in the spring after the winter season. I completely wash them inside and out along with the pen, shoveling all the old sand out of the coops and replacing it with new fresh sand. Since the girls are out in the yard a lot more I can finally prepare the coops for the spring and summer seasons. Now that coop cleaning day is done its time to start getting ready for planting season.

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While I am busy planning the gardens for the upcoming growing season, the girls are busy doing their share of work tilling them for me. All winter long I dump shaving from the coops on the gardens where it decomposes conditioning the soils in preparation for spring planting. The girls after a long winter of being cooped up due to the winter temps and weather enthusiastically get to work. They turn over all the shaving in the gardens as they search for worms and other delectables. In the process their efforts till the gardens working the shaving into the soil as they search for bugs and worms. Soon it will be time for the tiller which they thoroughly enjoy. Turning over the soil in preparation for planing lends to many worms to enjoy. When the tiller come to the backyard they know the banquet that awaits.

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Finally, after spending the winter in the warm dry coop and pen, its time to catch up with old friends at the other end of the yard. The Bantam Boutique and Tardis Crew are doing well. They too are appreciating the longer days and warmer weather. The Silkies are busy finding worms and bugs in the mulch that surrounds their coop while the Bantam Crew does the same. The sheer joy that is expressed upon the unearthing of a juicy worm or fresh bug is nothing less than exilerating in the world of a chicken.

As the flocks once again greet each other and the increasing warmth from the sun all is blissful here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm. Soon we will have crops in the ground and berries on the bushes. The girls will dilligently work to rid my garden plants of bugs while getting a bit of the spoil in the process. Good times are ahead as we plow away at the coming growing season.

The girls and I have more exciting news to share with you here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm. I have ordered some new recruits, chicks will be arriving in early May! We are so excited to welcome these new little members and eagerly await their arrival. I will of course have a post detailing the additions to the Kuntry Klucker Farm crew.

Till then, thanks for stopping by we will see you again soon!

~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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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Chicken Math!!!!

Hello fellow peeps! Sorry its been a while since I posted on here, but I have been down with a bug, a bug fellow chicken keepers are well aware of. The dreaded bug of chicken MATH!!! That is right, I have been stuck with the chicken math bug. Now for you readers not familiar with the chicken math plague, allow me to describe the depths of this hypnotic illness.

You see as chicken keepers we do not count our chickens like most normal people would count jelly beans, change or marbles. You see no real method of counting works when it comes to chickens. If you see 1 + 1 you will automatically say well that equals two. Not so for us chicken owners as we count our chickens. We say, “2 chickens plus 4 chickens that would be about 5 chickens or so”. You see we don’t really want to admit how many chickens that we have because then we would realize that we have too many. So we use the system of Chicken Math. It’s an approximate number of chickens that we might have minus a few.

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Its a rather contagious bug, especially around Thanksgiving. While most people are out buying a turkey and the trimmings for a Thanksgiving dinner or staking out their prey in the form of stores for black friday deals. We chicken owners are trying to beat the rush for ordering chicks for the next spring. If you thought that black friday lines were an intense crowd, you have not seen chicken owners sitting by the computers anxiousally waiting for the stroke of mid night to order chicks. If you are into rare breeds this intensidty is even worse. There are only a few being hatched so you have to make sure that your order goes though, first and fast!

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Anyway, back to the chicken math. Here is how it works in my case. Let’s see, I have 9 or so big girls in the Kuntry Klucker and I guess, 8 or so in the Bantom Botique. Using the concept of Chicken Math that would be about 10 chickens, I have more than enough room for more.

So according to chicken math I don’t have enough and onto ordering I go. So instead of rushing to the stores like most red blooded American’s, I am at home down with the chicken math bug. What am I doing in particular? I am going through all the available breeds, trying to decide which breeds I want to bring to the Kuntry Klucker Farm next spring.

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After much thought, debating with myself, and running the numbers of chicken math again and again,  I have decided to order 9 new chicks for next year.

We are so excited!! Here is rap sheet for next year’s chicks.

2 Bantom Black Silkies (1 male and 1 female)

3 Bantom Buff Silkies (1 Male and 2 Females)

4 Bantom Cochin Frizzle ( all females)

I wanted to get another White Crested Polish but I was too late and they were all gone. Even so, I ended up with quite a list for next year. I have chosen the hatch date of May 7, so that means by May 8th or 9th I will be a chick ma ma again.

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I cannot wait for my peeping package to arrive at my local post office and start the adventure all over again. Ordering chicks is so much fun and the method of Chicken Math makes it possible.

What am I going to do with all these chicks you may be asking? Well, I plan to add another chicken coop and place it in the spice garden with Roy’s Roost and Betsy’s Bliss. I have room for one more coop there. I plan to house all the Silkies in this coop. In the Bantom Botique I plan to integrate the 4 Bantom Cochin Frizzles with Enigma and the While Crested Polish Girls.

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I want to eventually get all the Silkies into a coop of their own. They will then roam the spice garden and tend that garden for me. Since Silkies have feathers on the feet they are not as destructive as the non-feathered footed breeds. That means that will at most turn the mulch and keep the bugs away in my spice garden. They will be the perfect addition to that garden.

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The Black Cochin Frizzles will make a great addition to the Bantom Botique. If you remember, Enigma was a little hatchery mix up last year. He was supposed to be a White Crested Polish Male. Since he is the only cochin on my farm here I wanted to get some girls that are his breed. So I will take the Silkies out of the Bantom Botique move them into the coop that I will place in my spice garden and then replace them with the Cochin Frizzles in the Bantom Botique.

In the end, once I get things all said and done the Kuntry Klucker farm here will be complete. If I get a bad case of the Chicken Math bug next spring I may order a few more. But for now, I think that my Chicken Math bug has run its course.

Thanks for dropping by and checking up on our goings on here at the Kuntry Klucker Farm. The girls are doing great, weathering the winter weather well. We have had some snow which they are not thrilled about, but like always they make the best of if it.

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Till next time, the girls and I wish you a Merry Cluckmas and a Happy New Year!!!

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~ The Kuntry Klucker Crew ~

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Getting ready for Old Man Winter

 

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Sorry it has been a while since I posted. I am doing fine for those who messaged me in concern. I appreciate it, we have just been busy with fall and now getting ready for the holiday’s that are right around the corner. The Kuntry Klucker and Bantam Boutique are also ready for the upcoming winter season. A few days ago we winterized the coops and got them ready for the cold weather that will come our way soon. As you might have guessed by the title of this post, I will chronical how we here at the Kuntry Klucker farm prepare the coops for winter. I get a lot of questions from fellow chicken keepers on how to protect their flocks from the winter weather, I hope that this post offers some help and guidance in that area of winter care. So without further ado, lets dig into how to prepare your flock for winter.

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First and foremost chickens do not need a heater or heat lamp in the coops during the cold winter season. Actually not only are heat lamps huge fire hazards in chicken coops, that can actually make it harder for the chickens to regulate their body temperates. As the seasons change and cooler weather starts to take over chickens grow a down coat under their feathers, the same down coats that are sold in stores. Chickens by nature are little furnaces and are more than able to keep warm during the winter. A chickens average body temperature is about 109 degrees F so you can see that the cold temperates are not so much of a concern to them. Given that, I will tell you want I do for my girls to help them weather the winter well.

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Since chickens are naturally able to tolerate very cold temperatures I focus more on keeping the coop and pen dry. Cold temperatures are not so much of a problem for chickens but getting wet is a different story all together. So to protect them from the rain, snow, and ice I wrap the pens in an industrial plastic sheeting. This serves two purposes, one it keeps the rain and now out of the pens, and two it protects the girls from the wicked cold winter winds that can accompany the winter season.

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I wrap the pen completely in the plastic, only leaving a small potion open to allow fresh air to flow without allowing the winter winds to chill the girls.

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The girls are very thankful for the wind and water breaks that the plastic provides. During the coldest of winter days I will not allow them outside due to the possibility of getting chilled if the wind is rather nasty that day. Of course if its raining it will be a inside day for the girls. Since the ground seems to stay constantly moist or frozen during the winter I move a sandbox into the coop to offer them dry sand to dust bathe in. I also hang in their pen a chicken swing to offer some fun on the cold blustery winter days.

During the cold winter days or days where the weather is poor they prefer to stay in their pen to stay dry and thus warm. The plastic also keeps the winter winds out so thus the girls stay nice and warm. They don’t mind to stay in their pen, they have plenty of things to do to keep them occupied. During the winter I will also make them some treats to peck at and also aid in their entertainment. They over winter very well with nothing more than industrial plastic to shield them form the winter elements.

The Bantam Botique also gets the same first class winter care as the Kuntry Klucker girls receive. I wrap their entire pen in plastic to accomplish the same winter care as I for for the Kuntry Klucker. Only, since this is the Bantam Boutique Crew’s first winter they are not so sure of the plastic. Enigma in particular is quite entertaining as the crows every time the wind rattles the plastic. Next winter this will all be routine, but for this season their response is quite hilarious.

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I am sure that they appreciate the dry and warm environment that the plastic sheeting provides, but still they are a hoot. I place sand in the run of the Bantam Botique to allow me to clean out the poop with ease and also gives the Bantam Boutique Crew substrate to dust bathe in. The Kuntry Klucker has a dirt floor so that is why I add a sand box during the winter months. They Bantam Botique does not have the room for a sand box so I just put sand on the floor of their pen to achieve that same objective. The crew loves the sand and I like how easy it is the clean. Because I shelter the pen the sand always stay dry, manageable, and clean all winter long.

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So to answer the question about winter care for chickens I leave this advice. Do not use heat lamps, they are dangerous and with shavings in the coop they provide prime kindling for a disastrous coop fire. I allow the girls to use what nature provided them to keep warm and just supplement them with a dry and clean coop and pen. By using inexpensive plastic sheeting that I get at Tractor Supply for under $20, I offer them a comfortable overwintering experience. Chickens are made to live outside and weather quite well, they just need a clean dry place to call home. This is my 7th winter with the Kuntry Klucker girls and the first with the Bantam Botique Crew, over my past winters I have had a very happy and healthy flock.

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And what cozy warm winter coop wouldn’t be complete without a little festivity. Every year I string lights around the interior and exterior of the Kuntyr Klukcer in exception of Christmas and Santa coming to town. The lights offer the girls a little extra light in the evenings and I love to see the coop lit up with the lights of the season.

That is all for now. Till next time thanks for stopping by and spending a little time with the girls and I. We will be back soon with another entertaining post about life here on the Kuntry Klucker Farm.

As always, thanks for reading and keep on crowing

~ The Kuntry Klucker and Bantam Boutique Crew ~

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