We have officially joined the urban chicken craze. Maggie wore us down after three years of sketching custom coop designs and planning her neighborhood egg business. Our girl was determined to get some backyard birds, so when Clark’s co-worker offered us his homemade coop we decided to take the plunge. Another colleague gave us three mature hens to get us started.
Meet Henrietta, Phoenix, and Gucci:
Clark and Maggie spent hours revamping this old coop: raising the ceiling a foot, adding egg boxes, installing a light and timer, and topping it off with a rubber roof. Here are the before and after photos:
Our garage is now stocked with chicken feed, straw, and meal worms. Our produce scraps no longer go to waste, and Tess gets to share her dog run with three feathered friends. (Note: we don’t trust that friendship enough to let Tess and the birds together without chicken wire or a doggie door barrier, but we’re confident they are bonding.)
We moved the coop under our deck and into Tess’s dog run so the hens have an extra barrier of protection from the elements and wild critters. Every day Maggie opens the coop so the hens can roam the run, and they use the doghouse more than Tess! This spring/summer Clark and Maggie plan to build an entirely new coop that can accommodate more birds and protect them from bears or other predators.
Maggie has faithfully provided these girls food, water, and clean bedding for 53 straight days. We’ve done everything possible to make our hens feel comfortable in their new home, but they are old birds (2-5 years) and winter is coming.
But today it happened: An egg! Our first egg! We don’t yet know which hen started it – could it be Henrietta, the best name ever for a chicken? Or Phoenix, our black-feathered bird named for Albus Dumbledore’s devoted Fawkes? I doubt it was Gucci, since the splatter of poo on the egg isn’t exactly fashionable. But it’s an egg, and it’s a start!