So, over the summer my fiance and I purchased our first home. It was the culmination of about 9 months of grappling with banks and inspectors, fixing and tweaking small (and sometimes not-so-small) things until we got the approval for our mortgage. It was a terribly frustrating experience, with the house going into short-sale and the gentleman who lived there doing his damndest during the interim to let the place fall into a state of utter ruin. Had the house been even half as maintained as we'd thought it was at the time, the price we paid for the place and the 2 acres it sits on would have been a steal. That was, sadly, not the case. In the end, the house pretty much had to be gutted, and things still haven't been set completely right.
That aside, this home-buying journey has awoken in me a love of keeping chickens. The previous home-owner left 4 white leghorns to roam the yard and because they weren't being fed, they had begun wreaking havoc with the neighbors, raiding bird feeders and digging up gardens. What's a person to do? Catch 'em and coop 'em, of course. So, we gathered random bits of junk from around the yard and put together a really nasty, albeit functional coop. Keeping these little birds has been quite a learning experience and is, for the most part, a very fun pastime. I've been learning about the fickleness of roosters and the hilarious pugnaciousness of hens and now have a ragtag collection of 13 birds, 2 white leghorns, 4 easter eggers, 1 silver-laced wyandotte, and 6 tiny and sassy old english game hens.
Stupid or not, these birds have some of the most vibrant personalities of any animals I have ever met. The queen of the bunch, Lydia the white leghorn hen, is an aggressive little stinker, always first to the food and water and generally grumpy when others come around. Dovah is the king of the coop, and keeps his harem of girls well under his wing and away from the three unruly youngster roos, Flint, Steel, and Ember. Rosa is an easter-egger (which quite a large percentage of Ameracauna) and is one of the friendlier birds, more than willing to get up close and personal if you've got a treat to "share." Hilda, the wyandotte, is sassy but flighty and doesn't much like being touched by people. Rosa and HIlda are an inseparable duo. Sass, Frass, North, South, East, and West are the bantam old english game hens and despite their size, they can certainly hold their own with the larger birds. They're quick and agile and can even get quite a lot of lift with their little chicken wings.
Owning chickens has been a charm thus far, but now the weather is getting cold, and the need to build a bigger, better, proper coop has arisen. So, that's what I've been up to in any and all of my spare time (and even time that isn't so spare). The coop has a cinderblock foundation witha concrete slab floor, stick-frame construction with fiberglass insulation. It has a clear roof to let in heat and light, and will have a very large run when all is said and done. Right now, the coop is about 85% complete and I'm quite frazzled that it's so close, yet so far. These are going to be some of the most spoiled rotten birds on the planet when we're done.
I'll soon have pictures to share of the happy birds in their new home, but for now I think that's about it.