We like to make the most of every space we are given here at the farm and when a small flatbed 4×8 trailer fell into our laps we set out to create a space saving design. Here is the final product!
We used an old farm door that was stashed in our barn and cut it down to size to act as a door for the coop. The excess space on this 4′ end has avian wire which has 1/2″ holes. It is important to use avian wire instead of traditional chicken wire because the 1″ holes of chicken wire let weasels get in and there is nothing more devastating than a weasel in the hen house! For the space in-between the top of the door and the roof we also stapled avian wire to give good cross ventilation.
We built the coop directly on the trailer and secured it with cross bracing inside so it holds together well when we are moving it about the property for fresh pasture. 8″ overhangs of the metal roofing over the top rafter helps keep the weather out when it rains.
Inside we set the roost on some simple supports in the ground so the chickens can sleep and poop in the hay below. For nesting we decided to try a pyramid of three buckets. The buckets give the hens the feeling of security while making cleanup (if necessary) an easy task. All we have to do is simply lift out the buckets, hose them down and disinfect them if need be. The slippery side of the buckets deturs night time roosting on the buckets keeping the coop cleaner.
To make cleaning the coop floor swift and easy we put hinges on the wall side of the roost and a clasp on the other side so it can swing up to the ceiling and get anchored while we rake out the straw and give fresh bedding.
The small breeding flock inhabiting the mobile coop loves their home and if it is a particularly hot day they can be found resting and laying eggs under the trailer, content in the shade!
This week our fun photo is this extra extra large egg one of our amerucana hens laid. Next to it is a regular pearl leghorn white egg for comparison – it is almost twice the size! When we cracked it open it was a double yolker – had it fit in our incubator trays we would have tried to hatch out some twin chicks.
This week we are highlighting the finishing of our first mobile chicken coop! Thus far our breeding groups have been in separate stationary coops around the property with fenced off pasture but now they will be on the move ensuring that they get the freshest pasture possible. One trailer down, two more to go!
More Photos of the inside space saving design to come but for now please enjoy the cuteness of our littlest farm hand helping with the finishing touches 🙂
Here is a fun image of the progression from egg to chick to full grown mating adults. We love working with the French Black Copper Marans because the roosters are so immaculately tame. Our Little Peddler Roo has never looked at me with a sideways eye and will let any of us pick him up for a love squeeze. If they escape out of the pasture the hens like to come up to the back door and look into the window to see if anyone will bring them treats.
Warning: This article on hatchery vs. our breeding practices is a bit unsettling but important to read if you are serious about raising chickens and want to know where your eggs and meat come from .
Most folks don’t think twice when they pick up chicks from their feed store or order them online from major hatcheries, I know I didn’t. Hatcheries are business that are run on the production and sale of mostly female chicks. Males and imperfect chicks from the breeds that are able to be sexed female at day one are killed, they are thrown into machines that grind them alive or are drowned for ease. When I heard this for the first time I got a deeply unsettled feeling in my core because I knew it was wrong. Hatcheries don’t want to spent the money on feed or brooding space for males and have to get rid of them somehow, that is their solution.
Here at Alchemist Farm we breed Cream Legbars which let us know their sex from day one. Almost everyone who purchases chicks from us wants females which leaves us with a lot of males. We believe that every life counts and value our animals so we started a male chick and rooster relocation project. All of our extra male chicks are given away to families who raise them for meat birds so they can have a good life for four or five months and then provide food for folks who are homesteading. If you are interested in some male chicks to raise for free food of your own please reach out to us and we will put you on the interested list.
We only sell chicks that are in perfect condition to our customers. Nature is not always perfect and at times chicks will be born with some sort of defect (missing a toe, missing an eye, strange feathers or wings) if the chicks look like they will thrive we keep them out of our breeding program and raise them to be added to our egg laying flock so they can have good lives. The only chicks we cull are those that will not thrive (chicks born with legs that do not work for instance). It is rare but when it does happen we say a prayer for them and end their lives swiftly and humanly and bury them in our garden so they can help fertilize our plants and trees.
We believe that every life is important. We take the upmost care for all of the lives we bring into the world. Every chick is held and spoken to, they know they are loved. By week one our chicks are placed into chicken tractors where they have contact with grass, bugs, dirt, sunshine – all things that help create stronger layers down the line and prevents disease. Any bird you receive from us will be healthy, strong and sweet.
We hope that you feel the same about humane hatching and breeding practices and join us in shifting how hatcheries practice.
alchemist_farmSupporting Local Breeders Over Hatcheries Is Important & Humane
Happy Spring Everyone! A fresh batch of sweet Cream Legbar, French Black Copper Maran and Olive Egg Laying chicks (our mix of our French Black Copper Maran Rooster with our Amerucana laying hens) are due out Monday April 27th.
Reserve your beautiful egg layers through facebook or through our email [email protected]
So! You Have Some Fresh Baby Chicks. What Should You Do With Them? Why . . . . Dress Them Up Of Course! Presenting Cleopatra The Cream Legbar Chick
All Goofyness Aside, The Best Thing To Do With Your Fresh Baby Chick (After You Have Gotten Your Cute “Ya Ya’s” Out Is To Keep Them Warm And Well Fed/Watered In A Brooder Until They Are Hardy Enough To Run Around Outside.
Have some cute pictures of your own to share? Send them to us at [email protected] We will pick the best of the lot and share them on our site!