I can’t believe I haven’t shared about this awesome coop Greg made. We have constructed our share of chicken coops. I am happy to report that after a few months of use I think we finally have the perfect coop. The inside is about the same size as their last but this one is made of “real” wood. You know, the kind from an actual store that is all the same size. No make-shifting on this one. We have two real doors with windows! The door to the run area even has a doggie door which should help with heat in the winter. It even has lanolium flooring!
The other great addition to this one is the large storage area on the side. This houses all the food we need for the animals close at hand. It is now full of pig, chicken and sheep food. The last thing that makes this my favorite doesn’t have anything to do with the house itself (sorry honey!) but with bedding. We used to use straw but it gets smelly and disgusting really fast. We switched over to wood pellets and absolutely LOVE it! It pretty much just smells like wood shavings. It seldom needs to be cleaned out. You just kick the pellets around a bit and it freshens up. If you have chickens you need to use pellets…hands down. And of course painted Barn Red with white trim because my husband loves me.
We have two climbing/play structures in the back yard. The yellow slide is for smaller toddlers while the green slide is for Big Kids. Our rule…You’re not allowed on the green one unless you can make it up there on your own power. This slide is a bit steep. When we were constructing it we didn’t pay too much attention to how high the platform was. If anything we wanted to be sure it wasn’t too short. Not a problem. It’s a good two feet taller than it should be with the length of the slide. But that’s OK. It just makes for a great ride.
Zeke has been working hard and is finally able to make it up the Big Kid side! Way to Go!
Lets finish up with the chickens (since they are now in our freezer).
Warning: If you have any aversion to butchering chickens or blood do not read further. This is life on a farm folks.
A little about their short life. Broiler chickens are only around for about 2 months before they are ready for butchering. It is crazy they grow so fast. The chicken tractor Greg made worked wonderfully. We moved them each day to a fresh plot of grass. It’s funny to look at our back yard now as a super green line zig-zags through it. Great fertilizer! This year was so wet and cold we lost more chickens than we were expecting. They were looking so miserable we ended up putting their heat light back in. They immediately looked better and although it seemed silly to be babying these chickens they needed to stop dying and use their energy to get fat.
Our chickens were a little smaller than we were hoping for. Some of it was due to the weather I’m sure and we had a little bit of a time crunch with vacations and only had a small window to get it done.
This is the first year we have done chickens. We were so extremely blessed to have so many wonderful helpers. Even a family we had only really met a week before (if that). They are the professionals butchering more than 300 chickens each year. Talk about experience! The Lord provides our every need…even when it comes to butchering chickens. And given the fact our camera was (still is) missing we were also fortunate to have our very own photographer (Thank you Ruth!)
I loved how interested the kids were with the whole process. Eager to help.
These are the best things ever. Well, maybe not ever but they are so helpful. Properly called Kill Cones these babies contain the blood that would otherwise be splattered everywhere.
Then off comes they head. It takes a bit of muscle apparently.
We chose to skin them this year instead of trying to pluck them all. Much faster and cleaner.
Homeschool at it’s best.
At each step there was teaching and learning. The sharing of knowledge was in full swing.
Then the REAL professional showed up 🙂 A real live butcher to show us how it’s done.
Some of the meals may be a little surprise.
Lets not forget the broth. All in all we had a great butchering day. One of the best things…because of all the help I was able to hang back and “manage” the happenings. That and run errands as needed. And let me tell you, I was SO thankful for that. Thanks again to all the friends that made this day go so smoothly. You are wonderful!