Friday, April 25, 2014

"The Saltbox" Chicken Coop

The coop is here!  The Goldhen Girls have moved into their new coop and are enjoying the new and improved backyard sanctuary. But first I would like to take the time to review the coop for those of you interested in getting backyard chickens and are thinking about purchasing a coop kit.

We purchased "The Saltbox" Chicken Coop from My Pet Chicken.  I would like to start by saying their customer service was outstanding! We had originally ordered "The Clubhouse" coop, but manufacturing/shipping delays kept pushing back the arrival date. In one phone call, My Pet Chicken Customer Service happily helped us change our coop order to The Saltbox and it arrived promptly the following week.

The Saltbox was delivered on a wooden pallet in two securely packed boxes.  I immediately pulled out all parts of the coop to inspect them for damage then placed all pieces outside under our covered patio. My Pet Chicken recommends airing out your coop for approximately a week before moving your chickens in.  

After allowing the coop parts to air out for a couple of days, The Rooster went to work assembling The Saltbox with only a screwdriver and a wrench!  With clear and easy to follow directions, he was able to construct it by himself in about an hour. Before attaching the roof to the coop we decided to air it out a few more days.

Constructed coop without the roof

Nest box and roost

On Easter, with visiting family present, the big moment came and we loaded the girls into their new coop.  They acclimated quickly and only the first night did we have to shoo them inside for bed. It's been about a week now and so far they seem quite content with their new digs, but are definitely eager to be let out in the morning.  As My Pet Chicken states, this coop "is NOT intended for full-time confinement."  

Nelly Dean looking through a ventilation window

The Goldhen Girls' first time in the coop!

Here is a list of items we LOVE about this coop:
  • Comfortably fits our 3 chickens
  • Durable roof for Pacific Northwest rain
  • Double locks on all doors/drawers for protection from predators
  • Easy access nesting box
  • Pull out dropping tray for easy cleaning
  • Cute little window for peeping in (and out!)
  • Two ventilation windows
  • Easy slide chicken door from coop to run

Here is a list of items we would CHANGE about this coop:
  • Exterior chicken door does not have a latch to keep it from closing during the day.  Wind sometimes causes it to shut making it so the chickens can't get back in.  We have fixed this problem by using a very small bungee to keep it open during the day.
A small bungee to keep the door from closing during the day.

  • Low sloping roof allows for chickens to easily hop on top of the roof.  For some backyard chicken owners this may not be a problem, however, we are a bit concerned that they could fly over the garden fence that is close in proximity.

Goldhen Girls inspecting the coop's roof

Overall, we are very happy with The Saltbox and rate it 4.5 out of 5 stars.  My Pet Chicken was a great company to work with and sells a high quality product.

We hope this review helps all of you future backyard chicken owners. Stay tuned for the official introduction to the Goldhen Girls' new coop and backyard sanctuary. Thanks for reading!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Big Al and The Chicken Ranchers

My sister, niece and my sister's boyfriend, The Chicken Ranchers, were the ones that influenced The Rooster and I the most in getting backyard chickens.  Since 2012 they have been raising several chickens for eggs and entertainment on their wooded 5-acres in Idaho.  Every time their chickens are brought up in conversation big smiles come to their faces and they laugh and rave about their humorous ways.  The Chicken Ranchers especially light up when they talk about their very small rooster, named Albert.  His crazy antics made him a fast favorite.   Although bantam in size, Albert thinks he is larger than life and doesn't hesitate to chase away any unwelcome visitors, including my sister.   


An aggressive, undersized rooster, but still their favorite.

Just last weekend I was saddened to hear The Chicken Ranchers lost two of their chickens, one of them being Albert.  He has been missing for several days now and they don't expect his return.  The Chicken Ranchers are all pretty heartbroken, especially our sweet niece.  I am happy that they were able to catch one of Albert's shenanigans on video to serve as a reminder of the rooster they once loved.

Rest in peace, Big Al.  You will be missed.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Free at Last...Well, Sort of...

The Goldhen Girls finally got a taste of freedom.  Their first adventure outdoors was in our empty fenced-in garden area.  While appearing to be on high alert and a bit skidderish, I could tell they were in chicken heaven.  After a few days of allowing them to roam the garden and get acquainted with the outdoors, we allowed them full access to the backyard.  Although they appeared to love this new found freedom, much of their time was spent at the sliding glass door peering inside.

The Goldhen Girls' new outdoor adventure got really exciting when we introduced Kramer into mix. After his initial excitement of having chickens in his backyard, he grew bored with them and became very interested in their poop. Yes, our dog likes to eat chicken poop.  GROSS!

It appears like we got the Goldhen Girls all settled into the backyard, but there have been a couple of hiccups that have actually set us back a few weeks in moving them permanently outside.  First, we just laid sod in our backyard which means we had to move the chickens out of the backyard temporarily. Luckily, we have a fenced side yard.  It's small with no grass, but it will do the job while we wait. Second, there has been a delay in the shipment of the coop. We have resolved this set-back by having the chickens roam free in the side yard during the day and then we put them back in their brooder box at night.  A little bit of juggling, but I know the wait will be worth it in the end.

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

The Duck Dive

"You are what your animals eat."  This is Scratch and Peck Feed's slogan that we fully stand behind. Family owned and operated in Bellingham, Washington, their feed is 100% local, organic and GMO Free.  Thank you, Brook, at FOODTREK Holistic Nutrition for recommending that we feed this product to our chickens and Healing Ponds Farm and Garden Store for carrying this high quality feed.

If you have a few minutes to spare, you must watch Scratch and Peck Feed's entertaining YouTube video titled "From Farm to Feed." I love it!


Once a month we drive about 20 minutes to Healing Ponds to pick up our Scratch and Peck Feed and it is worth it. Not only are we getting quality feed, but it also feels a bit like visiting a Petting Zoo. During our recent visit to Healing Ponds to purchase some feed, the girls took joy in observing the ducklings that were being kept in a large feeding trough.  This brooder set-up made it irresistible for them to want to lean in and pet one.

I was in the middle of a conversation with the salesperson about feed when I heard a commotion.  I looked over to see that our Little Chicken Tender had fallen right into the trough with the ducklings. Her head quickly popped up over the side and her cheeks were glowing pink with embarrassment. Her tears started flowing as soon as she spotted me, but to my relief, were only due to embarrassment and not because she or the ducklings were hurt. Although no injuries were incurred, I do believe Little Chicken Tender's ego was a bit damaged because she kept her head buried in my leg for the rest of our visit.

Oh, the joys of mixing children and farm animals!

Thanks for reading.