Finding Chicken Sutra

So, I’ll just put it out there… I’m a bit bonky over chickens.  I never cared for birds much and then one day, about five and a half years ago, we ran out of eggs. I decided it would never happen again and we have had chickens ever since.  I don’t particularly like eggs, I have never really fancied them.  I don’t kill our flock for food (Lord knows the blood and meat at the market is enough to set me on a panic attack).  We have had some rough patches such as two sets of predator attacks.  The first time only our Barred Rock, Pepper, survived.  The most recent attack by a bobcat I chased off could have been the end of my chicken farming, but I just can’t seem to shake it.

I’m living in a different place and moving my chickens there.  Not only have I missed taking care of them, they need more attention, people time and I worry about them way too much when I can’t see and hear them often.  In addition to my sweet little Confetti and frizzle Cochins, our foster rabbit will live in the new run.  The rabbit formerly known as Fluffy is now called Cadbury.  The Cadbury Bunny after all lays eggs and lives with chickens, right?

Cadbury was given to us by my niece after he grew too big for her daughter to pick up.  I like raising rabbits and had just read about keeping rabbits and chickens together which I was  curious about trying anyway, must have been meant to be.  This has been a wildly successful venture. Cadbury is very kind and docile.  He is the perfect hospital mate when an ill or injured chicken needs to be separated from the flock.  He does groom his friends a bit too efficiently on rare occasions, clipping a feather once in a while, but he doesn’t bother wounds or startle easily and loves to help keep the patient warm.  My daughter calls the infirmary her ICCU, Intensive Critter Care Unit. Do they make naughty nurse costumes for rabbits?  I find myself being a bit carried away trying to set it all up.  Finding the right run, predator proofing the top, revamping an old dogloo doghouse for a coop, and the like.  I want to reuse and recycle as much as I can.  Not only am I huge penny pincher, I’m on a tight budget.  Old fence boards and used 4×4’s are awesome.

Two of my friends have been invaluable helping put all of this together. One was out with me in the dark tonight until 10 PM while I moved cages and fiddled about. The other insisted on working in 106° weather on a stand for the coop to be on and Cadbury’s nighttime crate to set on and slide out for easy cleaning.  I’m so grateful I had no idea where to start on that stand.

I’d like to create a more natural setting than our large breed poultry coop and run since these small birds will not free range as much as the larger fowl.  This is primarily because of our Buff Orpington rooster, Bo.  Bo was originally named Dorothy…he weighs in around fourteen pounds now.  He is a very good hen protector and provider, however to any women or children he is a big jerk.  I’m sure Bo would kill my four pound frizzle roo,  Kevin, for hormonal blood sport and kill the two pound girls by crushing them if he tried to be amorous.

I’ll try to post some pictures tomorrow of the progress and direction we’re heading.