I guest posted!

It’s been a while but I’ve put a new guest post out there.  This time it was for Kris over on the blog Attainable-Sustainable - http://www.attainable-sustainable.net/supplemental-light-chickens/ .

Head on over and check out my post - http://www.attainable-sustainable.net/supplemental-light-chickens/  on adding supplemental light for chickens in the winter!

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Guess what!? I guest posted!

So, it’s Friday again and once again, I’m directing you to another blog because, guess what!?  I guest posted.

It has been fun doing all these guest posts and meeting other bloggers.  My favorite thing about writing this blog is meeting other people (even if it is mostly only in the virtual sense).

Head on over to Girl Meets Nourishment - http://girlmeetsnourishment.com/gmnwordpress1/keeping-backyard-chickens-101/ and check out the post I did on Keeping Backyard Chickens - http://girlmeetsnourishment.com/gmnwordpress1/keeping-backyard-chickens-101/ . It’s a post for beginners, so a lot of you already know the information but there are some cute pictures of my chickens .  That’s always a winner.  Plus Katie’s blog is really sweet and informative.  

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Wordless Wednesday

Silly Chickens – There are FOUR nesting boxes. 

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Guest Post: Pre-Fab Chicken Coop by Jen of Random Thoughts in My Head

I’m so excited to be bringing you a guest post today from the blogger Jen of the blog Random Thoughts in My Head - http://the-random-thoughts-in-my-head.blogspot.com/ . 

I “met” Jen in the blogsphere (that’s a word people use, right?), which, as an aside, is one of my favorite things about blogging.  I love that it allows me to make these cyber-friendships with people all over the country (and world, I suppose!).  Anyhow, I met Jen as a result of this blog.  She mentioned in a comment on one of my posts about having bought a pre-fab chicken coop for the little chicks that her family was raising.  I immediately asked her if she would guest post about it after she had the coop up and running.  I don’t know about you, but I see these coops all over the internet, in stores and in magazines.  They look beautiful and I’ve wondered about their functionality.  If you’ve ever wondered about them, too, then wonder no longer.  Read on to hear about Jen’s experience with her pre-fab coop. 

Hi.  I’m Jen.  Wife, Mama, backyard gardener and new chickie owner!  I hesitate to call what I do “homesteading.”  I just call it knowing where my food comes from.  This is my first guest post, so I’m a little nervous, just bear with me!  I document the randomness of our days over at  http://the-random-thoughts-in-my-head.blogspot.com - http://the-random-thoughts-in-my-head.blogspot.com/ .  Stop by and say hi.


In March on a whim I got two Buff Orpingons and an Ameraucana. It wasn’t really a whim, I had done some research and knew what kind of birds I wanted. My husband was less than thrilled.  In my head I had all kinds of plans to build a semi fancy chicken tractor. That way the chickies could roam, eat all kinds of grass and bugs, fertilize the grass and be protected from the dogs.  What I was thinking about building was not at all what hubby had in mind. 

The Chickies
A discussion was had. Words were said. It was decided that for the sake of our marriage we should perhaps look at other alternatives to what each of us were thinking. I posted on Facebook asking for opinions and options. Someone sent me a link to a pre-fab chicken coop that was reasonably priced. For a week I’d lay in bed at night googling chicken coops.  I found one that we both really liked on Amazon and Wayfair. One website offered free shipping and was priced higher. The other was cheaper but had to pay for shipping. The ultimate price difference was minimal. The bad news was they were out of stock on both websites and not available until late June or so (I just got my wish list notification). 

Uh. Oh. Now what? At the end of April, my parents gave me the Sunday paper flyer for Murdoch’s. They had their chicken coop on sale.  I went to look at it and took pictures of it to show hubby.  We talked about it, compared it to the one we really liked but couldn’t get for over six weeks and decided on some modifications that we should do. When I finally got back to the store, the coop was no longer on sale. But the coop was only $200.00. It was still a no brainer. 


The directions were simple and the coop was easy to put together.  Although hubby had the help of a two year old the coop was put together in a couple of hours.  We did make some modifications to the coop. The first thing we did was staple some chicken wire to the bottom of the coop to help keep predators out. Next we added some hardware to the doors as the latches are a bit flimsy. The last thing we did was staple some weather stripping to the outside of the nesting box lid.  I wandered the aisle at the hardware store looking until I found what pictured in my head. I ended up buying some garage door weather stripping, because it is thin and flexible. The reason we did that was because I thought the gap was big enough that snow would blow inside the nesting box in the winter. The only place to put the coop in the dog run was for the nesting box to face the west and we get some pretty strong west winter winds.   The dog run has pine tree chips instead of grass so we filled the base of the coop with the chips. I still have a small pile left from mulching the garden beds in the back yard so I am saving those to put on the coop base as needed.

Nesting Box with Weather Stripping
The coop is made for up to four chickens. My three ladies snuggle in the corner of one nesting box.  I hung their food container on the beam under the ramp and their water container is in the corner by the ramp.   All in all for what we needed, this coop certainly does the job. I have no illusions that it will last forever and who knows I may add more chickens and need something bigger but for now it works just fine. 

Thanks so much for sharing, Jen!  Sounds like if you are an urban homesteader and are just planning on having a few hens, this would work great.  (And at $200, you can’t beat the price and ease of construction).

And if you’re looking into getting a pre-fab coop yourself, has many options.  Here are a few, including the one that Jen purchased:


          
And if you’re considering the idea of building your own coop, here are a couple of books that are great: 
          

Menagerie Monday Linkup

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Caring for Your Chickens in the Heat

Caring for your Chickens in the Heat :: Five Little Homesteaders

Have you caught on to the fact that it is hot in Arizona?  If you didn’t already know this little fact, then the amount of time I’ve ALREADY bombarded you with this information should have given you a clear picture.

So, that being said, Phoenix is hot.  And if you keep chickens, this can be a problem.  Caring for your chickens in the heat can be a tricky task.
Read more ›

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A Cheap, New Run for the Baby Chickens

It may come as no surprise that our baby chickens are no longer babies.  Last weekend I realized that it was time to give them some more space and that meant building a run to attach to the existing coop.

I did a lot of research (ok, maybe I just searched Pinterest) and decided that I didn’t want to do anything elaborate.  Number one – I’m not really capable of doing “elaborate” construction.  Number two – my husband, who IS capable of doing elaborate construction, has a lot on his plate at all times and I didn’t want to give him any more projects to work on.  So, I used my imagination and I think it paid off.

If you recall from a recent post, I think masonry ladders are pretty nifty and they can easily be used in the garden.  I used this same concept and applied it to the chickens and the construction of their run.

Here’s a quick DIY for you.

Materials
1 roll of chicken wire from Home Depot
wire
3 masonry ladders
wire cutters
circular saw

How-To

Place your masonry ladders so they form a short tunnel on one end the existing coop (a chunnel if you will – chicken+tunnel=chunnel).

Cover the tunnel with chicken wire and use wire to secure it to the masonry ladders.

Use a circular saw to cut a 10×10 hole in the side of the coop (we saved the wood to make a close-able door if necessary).

Using the remaining chicken wire, create a flap-style door at the end of the tunnel.  (This is tricky and came out a little messy.  It will definitely work, but I think we might need to come up with a different solution in the long run.)

This project was seriously so cheap and easy.  The chickens love it and happily hop from one “room” to the other.  It makes me feel so much better that they have more space to spread out and scratch.

What do you think?

**Note** Some of you are going to think I am CRAZY, but rest assured, we don’t have a lot of predators in downtown Phoenix that can get at our chickens.  The worst that we encounter are stray cats and they can’t get into this run.

Oh and, you can put babies in it, too.

Booklist:

Storey’s Guide to Raising Chickens: 3rd Edition (Storey’s Guide to Raising Series) - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1603424709/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1603424709&linkCode=as2&tag=fivelitthome-20

Chicken Coops: 45 Building Ideas for Housing Your Flock - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1580176275/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1580176275&linkCode=as2&tag=fivelitthome-20

Reinventing the Chicken Coop: 14 Original Designs with Step-by-Step Building Instructions - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/1603429808/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=1603429808&linkCode=as2&tag=fivelitthome-20

Shared at  The Backyard Farming Connection - http://www.backyardfarmingconnection.com/2013/05/the-backyard-farming-connection-hop-32.html
Shared at  The Homestead Barn Hop - http://www.theprairiehomestead.com/2013/05/homestead-barn-hop-111.html
Shared at  Frugally Sustainable - http://frugallysustainable.com/2013/05/frugal-days-sustainable-ways-72/
Shared at From the Farm Blog Hop

Menagerie Monday Linkup

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Guest Posts – Check out our latest!

I feel so lucky to have had two recent opportunities to guest post. If you get a moment, head over to these ladies’ lovely blogs and show some love.  

Heather Harris – The Homesteading Hippy – is doing a great series of posts leading up to Earth Day this year.  I contributed a post on  repurposing trash to use as seed starting pots. - http://harrisheather.com/?p=3303   Something simple we can all do to reduce our footprint just a little.



Mary – of the blog Raising Dick and Jane – is thinking about getting chickens!  I contributed a post on six things to consider when designing a coop - http://www.raisingdickandjane.blogspot.com/2013/04/diy-chicken-coop-design-guest-post-by.html .  I think it is a great article for the person who is just getting into the world of chicken raising. 



I’d love to hear what you think of the posts.  Leave me a comment if you’ve got something to say.

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Upgrading the Chicks

At just over two months old, our baby chicks are quickly becoming full grown hens.  They are fully feathered, spend 24 hours a day outside, and no longer need a heat lamp at night.  They are also quickly running low on space in their coop and we are discussing different ways to expand their run.


Up until yesterday, they were still using the feeder and waterer that we used when they were in the brooder.  However, after coming out to find the waterer tipped over several times and refilling the feeder twice a day, I realized that it was time to upgrade.  As I’ve mentioned before, I love our local feed store,  The Western Ranchman - http://www.thewesternranchmanstore.com/ , but just up the road, we have a little store simply called  Pet Club - http://www.thepetclub.net/store_locator_arizona.php .  On the day I decided to purchase a new feeder and waterer, I was toting two little ones with me, one of which was in desperate need of a nap, so I chose the closer option.  

After looking at all the different types of chicken gear, I settled on the  Little Giant 3 Gallon Plastic Waterer - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000HHFA92/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000HHFA92&linkCode=as2&tag=fivelitthome-20  and  little giant 12lb chicken feeder - http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B000VLFE6I/ref=as_li_ss_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=390957&creativeASIN=B000VLFE6I&linkCode=as2&tag=fivelitthome-20 .  I am particularly excited about the waterer.  The waterer we use for our other two hens is simply a self-refilling dog bowl.  It is economical and gets the job done, but it can be a pain to fill.  The Little Giant Waterer has a great design and is extremely simple to fill, which is what I need, especially in the summer when being outside is unbearable.  I think that, in the long run, the feeder might be on the small size for four hens, but our other two hens have a much bigger feeder, so I can always just switch them out.  


Next on the list for the four little ones:
  • figure out how to expand their run
  • clean the coop and add bedding to the nesting boxes in anticipation of the girls getting ready to lay
  • secure the ladder to the coop
  • paint the sides (orange) and the top (white).  
Also, summer is coming, so I have to get my supplies together for getting all six of the girls through the heat.  I have a post coming on helping your chickens through the summer.  Stay tuned. 

Shared on  The Backyard Farming Connection - http://www.backyardfarmingconnection.com/2013/03/the-backyard-farming-connection-hop-25.html
Shared on  Wildcrafting Wednesday - http://www.theselfsufficienthomeacre.com/2013/03/wildcrafting-wednesday-13.html
Shared on  Farm Girl Blogfest - http://www.thismindbeinyou.com/2013/03/farm-girl-blog-fest-25.html
Shared on  Menagerie Monday - http://www.thismindbeinyou.com/2013/03/book-review-urban-chicken-by-heather.html

Standard, legally required, Endorsement Disclosure: In order for me to support my blogging activities, I may receive monetary compensation or other types of remuneration for my endorsement, recommendation, testimonial and/or link to any products or services from this blog.