Sunday, May 04, 2014

Updates on the coop

Yesterday, I'd blogged about adding some more shade to the chicken yard.  So I made sure I went out to see how things looked this morning.

With the additions I made, there is a lot more shade available to them.  They should be able to use the new shaded area's until about noon.  At that point, they'll have to go back to under the coop.

When we built the coop, ventilation was a real big deal to me.  We built a wooden coop, but it has a corrugated steel roof and I've been concerned about the heat inside the coop.  I realize during the day, they aren't in there much, but depending on how much it heats up, it might take a while to cool off at night.

So, while at the store today, I decided to get one of the wireless transmitted temperature gauges.  I have the other end sitting on the back porch.  This will allow me to see the temperature differences between outside and inside the coop.

Today, it got to 94 here in Northeaster Oklahoma.  Right now at 6:00, it's 93 degrees on the back porch, and it's 95 in the coop.

Saturday, May 03, 2014

Chicken Fight and Runny Poop

After running to the Farmers Market this morning for some locally grown greenhouse tomatoes and locally raised bacon, I came home and grabbed 4 eggs out of the coop!

While I was doing that, we ended up having a cage match with at least 2 of the chickens.  Both ended up bloody with a little blood on them.  One had some blood around her beak and the other had some on her breast.  Afterward though, everything was fine.  I guess they were working on the pecking order over something.

But afterward, one of them acted a little strange, so I sat down and watched them all for a while.  Except for the fact she was walking the fence back and forth looking for a way out, she seemed fine.

I then noticed that one of the birds had some runny poo.  I didn't however see which bird did it.  So, I watched even more.

I opened the coop and took a look in there, and noticed under the roost, there was one place that had runny poop.  So, I took a closer look at it looking for anything abnormal (other than it being runny that is).

So, being a computer guy, I did what I always do in situations like this.  I did some analysis, and then came inside and did some research.  That's when I found a forum post with lots of pictures of chicken poop to look and compare.  After looking at the pictures, it was ceacal.  And that most things I read from a myriad of sites pretty much said it wasn't anything to be too worried about.  So I went back out and watch them to make sure everyone was really fine.

After watching another 30 minutes or so, everyone seemed fine.  No one was really acting strange so sickly.  I did however, decide to do some stuff outside so I could keep an eye on everyone.

I took a look at the chicken yard, and decided it could use some cleaning, so I went and got my garden rake and my flat shovel.  I also noticed that they've eaten almost all the grass in there.  Since we still had netting left over from covering the chicken yard, I decided to throw together an extended chicken run.  However, none of the girls really wanted to leave the shaded area under the coop.  So I grabbed an old broken patio umbrella, and set it up in the extended run.  They still weren't going for it.  They almost looked afraid of it.  Oh well, maybe they'll eventually go out there.  In the meantime, I cleaned up the yard.

Next up was to work on some shade for the girls  The next 3 days, the temperatures are supposed to be in the lower 90's!  Ugh, I'm not ready for that.  A couple weeks ago, we knew we needed some shade so we took an old roll up shade we had which had broken, and tied it to the netting above the chicken yard in front of the coop.  It sorta reminded me of a front porch.  Then we had some really strong winds, and well, this happened.

After that, the only shade currently in our chicken yard is the shade under the coop.  And during the late morning that's not much.

I'd considered putting the patio umbrella in there, but with they way they were acting toward it, I decided not to.
My wife suggested I cut it up and attach it to the top to give them other shaded spots during the day.  So I did that, then I took it one step further.

I attached one small section to the top of the yard (over the netting)  The other I placed on the east side.  As the sun comes up, it should give a good shaded spot for a good portion of the morning, especially with the small piece on top.

Guess we'll see how it really goes tomorrow.

I got to thinking though that some of the strange behavior of the one chicken that was pacing the fence might have been to get to more of the shaded are she could see.  I could be wrong, but it's a start.

After doing all that, I still wanted to be around the birds just to make sure everything is good, so I worked on tearing down some pallets my wife brought home for free.  If I ever get them done, I'm looking to build a fence around my garden with them.

By this point in the day, I was exhausted.  I cleaned up, and then we locked up our dog and let the chickens free range for the last 2-3 hours of daylight.

Once they were all in bed, it was time to come inside and cook up some of that bacon for some BLT's!  I should have baked a loaf of bread to go with the fresh lettuce, tomatoes and bacon.

Friday, May 02, 2014


Thursday, when I got home from work, I went out to check on the girls and check for eggs.  Then I walked through all my raised beds checking for weeds.  It really is amazing how much time you can save yourself by pulling a few weeds every day or two instead of waiting a long time before doing it!

As I was making the rounds, I stopped and really looked at my strawberries.  There are so many blooms and lots of green berries forming!

I love strawberries.  But I'm not a fan of those huge berries you get at the store.  I like the small berries, though that may be because that's what I always had growing up.

I'm hoping come next year, the bed I have will be full of berries!

Grow berries, grow!