Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tales from the Coop-keeper

Chickens.  Seriously one of the best.pets.evah!  I never thought of chickens of pets, until I had my own.  Actually, I thought of them as a food source, whether it was for eggs or meat.  I never knew of their quirky, silly sense of humor, and never would have guessed they had a sense of humor.
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Our rooster, Ellen DeHENeres is such a sweet little soul.  I love watching him with the girls.  He is so polite and gentle.  One thing that he does that melts my heart is, when we bring down treats, he let’s the girls go first.  When they are done, he joins in.  What a little gentleman!  Another cool thing about Ellen is, he will let Chris cradle him upside down like a baby and rub his belly.  We have had hens before, but never a rooster.  Admittedly, I am a little intimidated by him, even though he is so sweet.  I’m workin’ on it!
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I fully admit that I am a little bit of a crazy-chicken lady.  I don’t have a problem saying so.  I spoil our flock.  I spoil them rotten.  But they give us so much, it’s my only way to give back.  Every morning I make them a fresh salad of some sort.  This morning they had kale, fresh basil, fresh cilantro, summer squash, blueberries, watermelon, flax seeds, chili pepper and garlic.  (see Ellen hanging in the back,  patiently waiting?)  At night they usually get the left over veggie/fruit fixin’s from dinner and snacks from the day, and the stuff I pull out from the garden.
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Another thing I do is make them homemade iced tea on these blistering hot days.  Sometimes mint, some times alfalfa, sometimes a combo of whatever herbs I have an over abundance of in the garden.  I have found that the iced tea would be considered chicken crack for my feathered friends.  They see it coming and they start squawking and flapping their wings running toward me.  I am pretty much known to them as “the treat lady”.
Last night I cleaned out their coop, which is something I do pretty often.  With 11 chickens living in there, it’s important to keep their living spaces in tip top shape!  My favorite thing to do is leave fresh cut herbs in their nesting boxes.  Kind of like getting a mint on your pillow at a nice Inn.  Don’t you just love the little surprises?  I think my girls and roo do too!  I mean, who wouldn’t want to come in and see this-fresh oregano, english thyme, rosemary, basil, lemon balm and chamomile.  Smelled like heaven in there!
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I am hoping to get in and paint their boxes soon.  After all, if they look nice, they will want to use them, right?  We now have 3 hens laying!  I am so excited!  We have one more who is super close.  We will need to wait about another 5-6 weeks before the other 6 start giving us eggs.  I can not wait!
Homestead July 2011 045Miss Rosa is the “leader of the pack”.  She is also the one who will follow you around, (she is such a nosey hen) and just talk to you.  She also laid her very first egg last night!
Oh!  If you are wondering about the tea and why I use fresh cut herbs in the nesting boxes and their coop, take a look at this article from Backyard Poultry.
If you don’t have chickens, consider them.  They are easy to care for, they are fun, it’s a great learning experience and they will not only provide you with constant entertainment, but food as well! 


  1. You are tempting me to get chickens, but I know my neighbors will have a fit!

    I love ellen's name! They are some lucky birds!!

  2. Mary, you know, most cities have ordinances that make it ok to have chickens. Usually it's anywhere from 2-6 chickens (depends on the city) and absolutely no roosters. Chickens are relatively quiet. When they lay an egg they cluck but other than that they aren't bad neighbors. I can tell you, I would rather have people live next to me with chickens than little yappy dogs! Not that I have a thing about yappy dogs--I have one of those too! lol



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