The Hen House

This is our chicken tractor. Yes it is on wheels and when Michael made it (5 years ago) we could pull it around the yard so the chickens could have access to newer weeds and bugs and the area where they messed could air and dry out and grow new weeds. 🙂

Having chickens was his idea… having lived his young life raising animals for food, it was an experience he was eager to share with our own kids before they became too old to appreciate it. We started off with 5 chickens, 2 Dutch Welsummers, 1 Buff Orpington, and 2 Cinnamon Queens.  We had a Silky but I can’t remember if that was from the first batch or the second…

We have gone through several incarnations of chicken demographics and coop locations.  Shortly after we started this project we discovered that they could be set free in the yard and left to their own devices.  They roosted and laid eggs in the coop but for the day they wondered the yard and ate bugs and weeds.

When I got my Aussie Sheppard Fergie, we discovered that aside from being a herding animal, she had an affinity for catching and eating chickens!! So.. for 2 years we had built them a bigger fenced in area that they could call their own, and also trained Fergie to not eat chickens by hitting her unceremoniously about the head with her last feathered meal which we were lucky enough to catch her with.  She didn’t much care for that admonishment, and so has not eating a chicken since… (still haven’t figured out how to keep her from the rabbits, as we are not inclined to sacrifice one for training purposes, so we keep them fences off… more on that project at a later time.)

Currently we have 36+ chickens, 11 of which are meat chickens which will jump into jars as soon as they are full grown, and whatever roosters are in the bunch will also be culled and we will keep all the new young egg layers, both White Leghorns and Buff Orpingtons. Probably 10 all together…

We have found the buffs to be exceptional layers and Caveman really wants a bunch of leghorns, presumably because they are also good layers, but I think mostly because he wants to be a chicken hawk…


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