Search This Blog

Monday, May 17, 2010

Chickens In The Yard!

Well, today the chickens had their inaugural trip to the yard and it was an enjoyable event had by all. Aurora was the most intrigued, although a close second was probably our Labrador, Sadie who was curious, but surprisingly calm. I figured you put a dog whose genetics tell it to retrieve birds in the same proximity with chickens at least one wouldn't fair well.
Only five came out to explore and quickly began to peck and forage and were supprisingly tolerant of us, although the rest of them stood at the door watching and were close to joining. Aurora chased them around trying to pick them up and most allowed her to at least pet them, and one of the reds even let Aurora give her a kiss. Not the best thing, but some things you can't intervene with in time.
The ladies seemed to be especially curious of Aurora, even though she chased them around trying to pick them up, and they stayed right around her. The chickens love the coop, and I bought a large metal feeder the other day which means I don't have to feed them daily. It's amazing how much these birds eat and I was feeding and watering them every day. Our schedule is so crazy that this frees us up a bit and the ladies stay happy. It's nice to have them housed and happy and watch them have some more space to move. They haven't found the nesting boxes yet and they kind of nestle into the hay on the floor at night, but they are definitely happy.

So is Aurora...

Friday, May 14, 2010

"Trout That Swim"

Just some words for the day. Found this in Greys Sporting Journal, thought I'd put it up to share with people.

"Trout That Swim"
John Poch

Wait to wade. Streamside, kneel, retrieve a stone
from the wet edge. Beneath slither the nymphs
of flies, a moving prehistoric sketch.

They scuttle their inept attempts at bone
to undermine the light, your sight, and hints
of what will cast successfully. Yet you catch

that shine, that peacock herl. This refusal
whets wish, is charming as a timid princess.
Understand a rock if you would match

(undistracted by the bobbing ousel)
this hatch.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


The last two days proved to be wonderful in terms of getting some much needed time building the coop. As of Friday it was framed, the roof was on and the plywood sheeting up which was a bonus as the wood and floor would remain dry, but it had been pretty slow moving and the chickens aren't waiting to eat and grow until I finish the coop. Seeing as how my semester is now officially over, tuesday was a day that I was able to focus solely on building. I had to pick up a few pots from a local show in Syracuse, but for the remainder of the morning and all afternoon was spent driving nails. It was a really satisfying day to be honest. I forgot to eat until six o'clock, and my plans were pretty fuzzy so I was figuring things out as I went. I finally figured out how to get the nesting boxes to work which are the overhanging structure on the side of the coop. I started to trim things out in order to finish the door and get the window in, and things started to really take shape.

It was really awesome to see it go from roughed out openings and plywood, to actually having a resemblance to the drawings I had done as preliminaries in just one day of work. This evening I went back out to try to figure out the little chicken door that will allow them to leave in the day and return to the coop in the evening. I decided to put the door on the front so that we could see the activity of the chickens from the house, and it also breaks up the solid front wall a bit. I threw the little trap door together while Aurora came out and helped a bit. Her visit was a bit short lived as it had been raining most of the day and everything still was wet. She went back in and I got the little chicken ladder together, screwed it to the coop and called it a day.

The coop is a seven by six foot footprint and is six feet tall at the front of the coop and slants to four feet in the back. There is an added sixteen inches of depth plus the thickness of the wall for the nesting boxes (with a trap door lid for collecting eggs). It seems as this should be enough room for a dozen chickens, and it's funny how through this process I feel the chickens should have a little bit more elbow room. It's hard for me to not do all of the snidley nit-pickey things because that is the stuff I love. My studio mate Matt Shaffer in Grad school was (and still is) a figurative sculptor and he used to call all of the finish work the "Gravy". I loved that term and still use it as well because it is indeed all of the stuff that goes on top to make the meal that much more tasty. I still have a little bit to do like closing in the soffits and putting in some roof ventilation, a bit more trim, and of course paint. My summer project this summer is to paint the house and the barn, so the leftovers will go on the coop. I'm having a bit of trouble finding some portable fencing so I can move the ladies around as they graze. Having a lab and tempting genetics with birds in front of her nose means "free range" needs to be a bit more structured. I really need to get the girls in the coop though, as they are quite large and could use some room to move. Hopefully I can find some fencing relatively quickly and get them into their new home. I give it another day or two...