On Monday, Will finally finished the chicken coop. It was just in time as the chickens were too big for the kennel we were using and the weather was somewhat decent. It has been a weird summer for Colorado: muggy heat waves and torrential downpours and intense thunderstorms.
This chicken coop was a labor of love and took way longer to finish than Will expected (well doesn’t everything!). He designed it himself and used primarily refurbished wood from pallets and left over chicken wire and roofing tiles from our neighbor.
They have a run attached to the coop that they spend most of the day just pecking, eating and exploring. At night we are helping them learn to go in their coop to sleep. The ramp up into the coop is on a hinge and swings up and locks into place. This keeps them in all night. In the morning we open the ramp, check their food and change out the water if needs be. They are messy animals who poop in their water and throw their food everywhere.
I am not a country girl. I was raised in a suburban neighborhood near the coast in Southern California. But farm life runs in my blood. My great-grandparents were cattle ranchers in Nebraska. My dad spent his summers on the ranch helping out with daily chores, repairs, and lots of labor-intensive tasks.
I have always been weary around farm animals. And when I say weary, I mean terrified. I don’t like the uncertainty, how they spook and move quickly. How they attract bugs and poop everywhere. So why, you may be asking, did we move to the country and decide to raise chickens?
This is the life I have dreamt about for Milo. And deep down I knew country living would be better for my health and my happiness. Sure my allergies are out of control here, but I am being pushed out of my comfort zone and learning responsibility on a completely different level.
Yesterday, Will forgot to let to the chickens out. So I got my shoes on (I was still on my bathrobe) and walked on out there. I opened the ramp and they rushed out into the run. I was not even scared. I refilled their food, and took their water out to clean the container and fill it with fresh water. I even took a poop-encrusted water tank for their coop and scrubbed it clean.
That evening I was even more brave. I wanted to try out our new baby carrier from Sakura Bloom. It is an onbuhimo with leather straps that allows me to back carry Milo securely and still have my hands free to do whatever I need to. It gives me the confidence to work all while keeping him close.
I decided I was ready to pick up a chicken. Something I had not done yet. Will had handed one to me for a moment but I had a mental block when it came to physically picking one up off the ground.
I do not know how I did it, but I picked up a chicken…TWICE! They were not really happy about it but we are going to work on getting them more socialized. Already they run up to me in the run when I walk in there to fill their food.
I am also starting to see differences between them all. I have officially named them, but can only really identify one from the four. Their names are Marigold, Merida, Mabel and Midge. Already Milo gets excited about the chickens and I know he will grow into a really good helper on our homestead.