The Next Generation of Chicken Farmers

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Ever noticed that kids like chickens? At the very least, even if they are a bit nervous, they want to know about the chickens. We love showing off our girls to any kids (or adults) that come along. If we’re lucky and we play our cards right, we assimilate a few of them…into chicken farmers. That’s right, chicken farmers. We hope they’ll have kids of their own one day and they will turn those kids into chicken farmers too.

 

 

build a chicken coop, hens, roosters, country living in a cariboo valley, raising chickens, eggs

 

Meet Mike and Renee, who are now keepers of chickens! Mike is holding “Beauty”.  They have 16 hens and 1 rooster.

 

 

 

build a chicken coop, hens, roosters, country living in a cariboo valley, raising chickens, eggs

 

Here’s Abe, isn’t he beautiful? Roosters are always more good looking than hens, just like most birds.

 

 

build a chicken coop, hens, roosters, country living in a cariboo valley, raising chickens, eggs

 

This Buff Orpington’s name is “Feathers”. Almost all of the chickens have been named by Mike and Renee.

 

 

build a chicken coop, hens, roosters, country living in a cariboo valley, raising chickens, eggs

 

 

This wacky looking hen is a Houdan.  The Houdan comes from France and has 5 toes!

 

 

 

build a chicken coop, hens, roosters, country living in a cariboo valley, raising chickens, eggs

 

 

Check out the feet – I’ll bet the other hens are jealous of her fine footwear now in the cold of Winter.

 

 

build a chicken coop, hens, roosters, country living in a cariboo valley, raising chickens, eggs

 

Here’s the awesome looking chicken coop that Mike and his Dad made. Have you ever seen a log chicken house before?

 

 

build a chicken coop, hens, roosters, country living in a cariboo valley, raising chickens, eggs

 

This one even has a deer antler for the door handle. Pretty spiffy!

 

 

build a chicken coop, hens, roosters, country living in a cariboo valley, raising chickens, eggs

 

The coop is trimmed with Christmas lights.

 

 

build a chicken coop, hens, roosters, country living in a cariboo valley, raising chickens, eggs

 

 

The trapdoor that they open up so the chickens can come outside into their big fenced run.

 

 

build a chicken coop, hens, roosters, country living in a cariboo valley, raising chickens, eggs

 

Mike says he and Renee check for eggs about 2 or 3 times a day.  They’ve got a great setup inside…..roosts in one corner

 

 

 

build a chicken coop, hens, roosters, country living in a cariboo valley, raising chickens, eggs

 

Nesting boxes in the other corner.

 

 

 

build a chicken coop, hens, roosters, country living in a cariboo valley, raising chickens, eggs

 

Dual heat lamps to keep the girls and Abe nice and warm during the Winter.

 

 

build a chicken coop, hens, roosters, country living in a cariboo valley, raising chickens, eggs

 

 

A seperate equipment and feed room is part of the log chicken house.

 

 

build a chicken coop, hens, roosters, country living in a cariboo valley, raising chickens, eggs

 

So, now Mike and his family are enjoying eating fresh eggs from their chickens. They are learning how to take care of chickens and the other responsibilities that come along with having them. They make sure there is enough feed and water for their chickens to eat and enough hay in their coop to keep them warm.

Thank you to both Mike and Renee as well as their parents for letting me post these pictures of their chicken operation! That is the finest chicken coop I have ever seen – it’s a Poulet Palace!

 

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Building a Barn – Part 2

barn 2 Jan 2008

A few days ago, I wrote about how we started building our barn. Click on the link to read that post if you missed it and want to read it.

 

build your own barn

 

Here’s a picture of how our barn looked at the end of that first year. We got farther along on the building than we thought we would. You can see the chicken coop on the left is completed. Behind the coop, is our feed area. To this day, it remains open although we had intended to close it in by putting siding on the outside walls. We will likely still do that at some point, it just has not got that high on our priority list.

The right hand side of the barn (where the old truck is) has been completely closed in. Here’s how we did that:

 

build your own barn, barns, milling wood

 

We framed in that right side, allowing for one window on the end and two windows along the side. Tere are also a total of 3 man doors. This room is now being used for a variety of things. When we raise meat birds, we set up heat lights and they grow out in that room. When we raise weaner pigs, they start off in this room. We get them around the end of March and there is still far too much snow on the ground for us to have them outside.

We throw lots of hay down on the dirt floor and the weaners stay in there for probably 4 or 5 weeks. At that point, we move them out to a pastured area and they sleep in their own little house. Since we have quite a few predators here in the Valley, there is no way we would put small weaner pigs out in the open right away. They are probably about 30 pounds when they arrive and they are far too small to be able to fend off predators.

Once the weaners are moved out, we open up the big end doors and clean out the room. Note: If you have a dirt floor in your barn, you may want to put down a layer of sand on top of the dirt. Then throw your hay on top of that. It makes cleanup so much easier it is quite amazing.

We let the room air out for several weeks. Then we can set up the heat lamps, feeders and waterers for the meat birds. Once they are grown out and sent to freezer camp, we clean the room out again. Actually the room gets cleaned out probably three times while the meat birds are there, as they generate a lot of manure!

After the room is again thoroughly cleaned out, it is usually late Fall. Time for cleanup and putting things away. Many items get put into this room for storing over winter. If we put the old truck in there, we simply put our tools, etc in the bed of the truck. Then the truck stays there until mid-March, when we take it out and get ready for pigs again.

So this “meat bird room” is more of a multipurpose room and it is great to have a room like that in your barn. Use it seasonally like we do for different things, but try to plan ahead for various uses. This way, you can make the appropriate changes to your barn building plans.

 

insulation, building a barn

 

Back to the building – friends in the Valley had a lot of insulation laying around that they weren’t going to use and they were happy to pass it along to us. Here you can see that the meat bird room is now totally framed in and insulating can begin.

 

insulation, building a barn

Here’s that room being insulated and covered with OSB.

 

 

 

homemade hinges, hinges for barns, build your own barn

 

Homemade hinges for the two large doors.

 

 

build your own barn, barn doors

Here’s how it looks with those end doors open.  That thing on the inside left wall is the greenhouse (the one we had under the porch) – we used to store the pieces in this room for Winter. The lumber that you see in the breezeway is all the wood we reclaimed from building the shop foundation. The Gman will reuse it, to do some framing for those gable ends down at the barn.

Next up, I’ll post pictures of the loft area.

If you need to build a barn or are waiting to move to your bare land, here is a good resource. How to Build Small Barns & Outbuildings will take you step by step through the process.