Monday, May 30, 2011

May 30, 2011

Ah, the end of a very nice Memorial Day weekend! Tea and blogging, a perfect combination.  Saturday was spent with my eldest dressed in his Class A Cub Scout uniform and the rest of us walking around the Floral Hills cemetery in Lynnwood, placing flags on veteran's graves.  It was a great way to discuss the true meaning of the holiday.

This blog post will be about a little adventure my kids had last week. It was a beautiful Friday off from school and we had just moved the chicks out to the ark.  I was getting ready to putz around on the chicken coop when I heard a ruckus from outside.  What did I find when I went out back?  Two new chickens had joined the flock!

The boys were really very good with the chicks. Despite being a bit bouncy, they gave the chicks their space and didn't block off their food and water.  The episode didn't last long, but it did last long enough to catch this on video.

I then left them to their play in the yard.  Later making a snack, I had to snap these pics.  It's great being able to look out the kitchen window and see not only the rose garden, but the chickens playing in the yard.

What a beautiful day for the kids to play outside and the chicks to forage in the yard.  They actually do a pretty good job mowing the lawn.  If I work it right I may not have to mow the backyard much.  And both my brother and I have found that two days after the ark has been in a place, you can't find any trace of their droppings. They get absorbed into the ground very nicely! I love it.

I hope you enjoyed your holiday weekend and got a chance to think on the significance of the holiday.



  1. your tractor looks great! And so simple. And kid sized even! cute :) Are you going to keep using that even after the coop is done? I've been thinking a tractor needs a roof and a nest box, but perhaps it doesn't? My girls need some fresh grass and bug action, they are going to start getting bored of the run.... and one last question: how to you get them to the tractor? And then back to, where are they sleeping, still in the brooder box?

  2. Pam, yes, the tractor is here to stay, though will be continually updated as needed and vacant. I have no run other than the 18 SF under the coop, so they'll be in the tractor every day, pretty much from morning til dusk. As for the roof, for now a 6x8 tarp is sufficient. I have some corregated plastic I may use for permanent walls on approximately 1/3 of the tractor, under which will eventually hold a small nesting box in the top. Everything I do will be to keep it light but functional.

    As for getting them in and out, it's one by one. My youngest is good at corralling them for me as he's short enough to walk around in there. When the coop is done, I plan to walk them over to the coop in the tractor, then open the doors and let them walk in to the food that'll be waiting. My brother is doing that and it works well. I can't wait to get my coop done as a result. The girls aren't liking the current arrangement.

    Thanks for the comment! Hope your girls get some grass time soon!

  3. Thanks for answering me! So... you drag it slowly and they move along with the tractor and you until they get to the coop? I'm still trying to picture how it will all work, I guess once I try it, I'll know! I'm also thinking about that electric fencing stuff, that you can move around the yard - I wonder if they will eat the blackberry suckers? I guess I can dream big ;) I have a few areas that are all rhody and blackberry and huckleberry - I would think they would love those areas and I wouldn't mind them doing a number on the undergrowth... so it's an attractive idea.

  4. My brother's got his coop up and yes, he simply drags the ark to the run under the coop and opens both doors. Just today he had an escape but for the most part, they follow the food, which is moved into the coop before the ark is dragged.

    As for eathing blackberry volunteers, don't count on it. Mine don't like much of anything but grass. They won't touch buttercups or dandelions or anything. I purposely place them on trouble spots, to no avail. They're so picky my girls. Hope yours are more omnivorish than mine.

    My ark to-date has cost me $35 including the chicken wire, which was the most expensive part. Now I wish I'd spent the money on hardware cloth as it's far more rust proof than chicken wire. Mine's rusting already.

  5. buttercups are supposed to be toxic, but mine eat dandelions, just fine...I pull them up and put them in the run for them and they pick them apart. But grass is their favorite, though I've been giving them clover too and they like that. I was really hoping they would take care of my buttercup problem, because wow, those things are winning the war in my yard.