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 ~

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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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 ~