As promised, pictures of our mini-coop and run expansion project. Mama hen took to moving nests up to twice a day which isn't going to hatch any chicks any time soon. Perhaps she felt that she needed to sit on all three nests??
Here is the dog house we picked up. Cute, isn't it?
Here is the mini-coop painted (mostly) and in place with the expansion in process. We always dig a trench around any expansion and fill it with chicken wire and rocks - keeps raccoons, etc from digging under and getting a midnight chicken dinner.
Here it is from the inside. That funny thing hanging from the tree? A truly amazing fly catcher. I think the day I took this pic the trap had only been hanging up for 24 hours. My new and favoritist defense against flies.
And here it is mostly done! We still don't have anything on the roof but we'll get to that. The people who built the dog house put insulation on the backside. We were going to move it in but didn't. Now we're thinking about just painting it so it's not so ugly.
Here we are on the inside. It didn't seem like the expansion would give them that much extra space, but when it was done it did seem so much bigger. I moved the nipple-waterer (the bucket) to a different location where more of them can drink from it. See one of our "chick" roosters peeking in to the mini-coop?
I guess it looks a little piecemeal, but when it's all painted it will look better. Not that the chickens care.
Something you can't see is that there is bird netting stretched over the whole open space above - keeps out the sparrows and hawks - and keeps the chickens inside!
And here is mama hen in her new house! Jeremy did the door a day or two ago. Yesterday evening we drilled in the 2x4s to designate the nest area. Later, if a chicken wants to roost in here we'll put a 2x4 up on top of the standing ones. Voila! Roost!
Anyway, we put that in, filled it up with straw, put in some food and water and went to fetch mama. Jeremy grabbed one egg from another nest that was still warm and the three mama was on. She was so angry when he picked her up!! Leather gloves were a good idea. I made a little indentation in the straw, placed the eggs in, and Jeremy put mama on the nest. She's been hunkered down there since (except of course to jump up for food and water at least once).
If she manages to stick with it this time - and there is nowhere else for her to go, so she'd better! - we should have up to four new chicks by the second week in October. It's a bit late, but we hope hatching a few chicks will break her of her broodiness. Otherwise, we'll have to have chicken dinner sometime soon.