Monday, May 2, 2016

Chickens 101: Mckinney Tour de Coop plus

Saturday the kid and I volunteered down at historic Mckinney Chestnut Square for the Tour de Coop event.   We worked the  pre-paid, volunteer and cash line selling tickets, T-shirts, and bags.  I sent the kid to one of the classes they offered on chicken doctoring and my future vet came back with a list of items we need to purchase for the health of our flock. 

 After our shift was over we took the tour of some of the coops. 
This amazing old barn is right in historic downtown Mckinney.   The house is old and beautiful and the owners have redone the structure while keeping the charm of the old barn.  
And they have several farm friends! 
And lots of amazing statutes. 
I loved this egg box.   In fact I told my husband I want one.  We don't have a place for it but it's awesome! 

I also want one of these giant Roos for our backyard.  

I loved how they used this one on top of an old tree stump.  
They even had a live band.  

The next stop was a cute little backyard coop with lots of pretty egg layers! 
I love how the coop looks like a gazebo. 
We had a chicken that looked just like this hen but we lost her about 6 weeks ago.  
Her hens lay beautiful eggs and this made me want a Maran and Olive Egger to complete our own color extravaganza! 

Our final trip was my friend Susan's adorable coop with her spoiled hens.  This is a huge coop and she has 3 ladies currently and is raising a few more babies to complete here flock. 

She has Engliah Orpington hens which are huge birds and just beautiful.  
After we finished the tour I came home and spent some QT with my flock.  Sadly, we lost a duck Saturday night to my dog.  She got too "friendly" and then not friendly with the bird.  I was and am devastated.   We are going to be rethinking our approach on this.  After 6 months of her ignoring the birds this setback was heartbreaking.  Still I have had the dog for over 6 years and she is a good dog.  She just can't seem to overcome her instinct to hunt.  I can't have her killing my flock so it may be time to limit her to zero unsupervised access and static coller 100% of the time and build a dog run.  
Inspired by all the amazing coops I started repainting our own coop to look like a barn theme.  
The duck coop is the small one in the right corner.   I did some research on plants that I can add to the coop area that not only add beauty but function and I have a game plan now. 

We will be adding butterfly bushes and climbing roses to the coop to break the sight lines of any overhead or on the ground predators and to give the flock extra shade. 

I also plan on adding in some additional sand as time and money permit to profit even more dusting areas for the flock.  They currently use our old tree stump that they have managed to hollow out and our fire pit. 

Something strange happened Sunday.  We had chickens laying eggs all day.  I heard and saw them laying but when o went to collect the eggs that night there was no eggs to be found.   I am thinking we were hit by a brazen thief because not only were we in and out of the backyard all day but 3 of the dogs were too. (Killer was in quarantine and only allowed out when supervised). 

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