Thursday, September 4, 2008

The Hen House

I wrote about our chivalrous rooster, Marv, in an earlier post. Now, I'd like to give a little attention to the ladies and where these privileged chickens call home. Here's a little tour for you...

My Dad carved this sign for Sam soon after we bought our first set of chicks. Right now, Sam's a little too short to see into the hen boxes, but when he gets a bit older, this whole enterprise will likely be turned over to him.

Here is the chicken house. All the way to the left is our two-seater outhouse where Somersault hid her kittens. To the right of the outhouse is the lovely, picture window we installed for our flock (it was a gaping hole before and we had recently replaced our house windows, so we had extras). They are the only chickens that I know who have a view of the backyard and neighboring field via a very large, albeit dirty, window.

To the right of the windows are two doors that are hard to see in this picture. The first, opens into the room with the nesting boxes and the second, into the roost (where the chickens sleep at night). Yes, they have a bedroom. In the wall that separates their laying/eating/drinking room from their bedroom is a tiny chicken door that allows them to move freely between the rooms. There is yet another door into the hen house from the other side of the building. I am thankful for all these doors. It is much easier to chase the chickens back in when they get out. I am speaking from experience. From this morning (we had left the gate open last night).

Below, is the chicken run. This leads from the outhouse, along the neighbor's fence and out into our fenced-in backyard where the flock can free range to their hearts' content.

And, yes. In order for them to get from the run into the laying/eating/drinking room, they must walk through the outhouse. Don't worry. It's doesn't smell anymore.

Once inside, the walls are lined with nesting boxes. There are about 25 nesting boxes in there. Our 7 hens don't need that many, so we keep most of them covered with boards and leave these open. They often like to lay where another already has, so they probably don't even need this many. But, we like to give them options. You know, like birthing options: the ball, the bath tub, the birthing chair, etc. Not that it's the same. At all.

I'm sorry this next picture is blurry. It was hard to hold the camera high enough AND still enough (I didn't have the flash on) while hearing the fast pitter-patting of a rooster's on-coming feet.

Here one sits, hunkered down, dutifully laying an egg for us.

In the basket is about two days worth of eggs. We get about 7 a day, give or take a couple. Aren't they pretty? Even though the hens are all the same breed, they lay beautiful, varying shades of brown eggs.

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