Saturday, November 22, 2008

Planning Ahead

This is my first winter with chickens here at the Green Barn. With each passing and progressively colder day and night, I am more and more impressed with the builder of this barn. I am glad I followed in the footsteps of a previous poultry farmer in using the barn chicken coop. (There are two other possible coops).



First off, it is in the basement of the barn. As you can see in the photo below, the entire western wall of the coop is underground and made of stone. My flock won't have any cold wind blowing through the coop, or blowing on a wall. The only exposed wall is the southern wall, and if the wind is from the south, it is usually warmer. This will keep the coop warmer! I can't help but think the designer did this on purpose to help keep his livestock warmer during the cold months. The window is sealed shut, waiting for spring.





This is the southern exposure of the coop. There are two windows on this wall that allows some nice sunshine in. Note that there is only about three feet of wall exposed to the elements and it is a foot and a half thick.



The other two walls are inside the barn. I insulated the northern wall with one inch foam insulation, and the eastern wall is insulated by a four foot hallway. I have the ceiling of the coop covered with a tarp to keep the heat in and water out, (the barn roof leaks).


I hung a red heat lamp over the roosting area to keep the edge off the cold and use it only at night. It was in the teens last night and this morning, it was 36 degrees F in the coop when I turned their lights on.

Four of my hens are really getting torn up by the roosters, so today I did the deed: three fat roosters are in the deep freeze. I watched all three of them raping and pillaging today and decided that it was time. Khan, the Cuckoo Maran pictured below, is a gentle giant, so he lives on. He does a great job of looking out for the flock and is always the last one in at night.

I love this picture Ruth took of our bottom porch step.

48 comments:

Joanna said...

I feel the same way about the raping, I am very protective of my girls. Around here, he has to be a gentle roo or he leaves this world.

Country Girl said...

I agree on the roosters. If they are causing harm to anyone they belong in the freezer. We only have 1 rooster and he is the last one in the coop at night and is very protective of his girls.

Susan said...

Banked barns are the best, aren't they? That's the only way they build them in New England. In fact, yours looks a lot like some of them.

I got rid of my one and only rooster when he first started feeling his roo-ness. He was attacking the grands and I couldn't take a chance on any of them getting hurt. He was a gorgeous silver-laced Wyandotte and I hated to lose him, but he went to live on DH's cousin's farm in southern Ohio.

Susan said...

BTW, love Ruth's picture of the footprints! That's a story in itself!

Don said...

joanna: I want HENS!!! All of the roosters I received were unintentional on my part. Next spring I plan on adding another twenty five layers. The only roos will be ones I intentionally buy to put into the freezer!

Don said...

country girl: I like having one who is the protector. i like having chickens I raised in the freezer. You did quite a few meat birds this year didn't you?

Don said...

susan: It makes a lot of sense to build them this way. I don't see a lot of them in Michigan, but New England is a bit hillier than MI and that makes it easier to dig into a hillside.

Gwen Buchanan said...

Don I love how you care for your sweet girls...

You did the right thing with the pillagers!! I would have done the same thing... tis the life of a farmer... some for the roost... some for the pot... makes everyone happy..

and the photographs are exquisite!!!

Carole@Fowl Visions said...

Your barn is awesome! I own some property in KY that has an original log barn that was built in the 1800's. I think around 1850's. I wish I could jack it up and bring it to FL. Nothing like yours but still well made.

laura said...

Tennyson called nature "red in tooth and claw," but I somehow thought things were more civilized on a farm. So my eggs are the result of a crime!?
I love all the pictures, but especially the one with the turquoise window--beautiful!

Don said...

gwen: well stated! I can already tell a big difference. All the hens were out in the yard scratching around and loving life in the cold sunshine. Earlier, most of them were under the bushes hiding from the gang of three.

Don said...

carole: old barns have so much character. Yours must be made of hand-hewn beams with wooden pegs! Mine doesn't have the pegs, but it has the big old hewn timbers.

That would be nice to move it to Fla!!

Don said...

laura: hens don't need roosters to lay eggs. They only need them if I want to get fertilized eggs. They are not worth it!

I like that photo tto, with the two chickens looking at each other through the window.

Denise said...

Don, is this style of barn different from most barns in Michigan? I always imagined chicken coops to be their own structure.

I love the pic with the window, it's my favorite.

Sharon said...

What a great barn! I love that photo (too) of them looking at each other through the window. Great shot Ruth!

Rose said...

The problem I have here in Texas is keeping my animals cool in the summer. it is a real problem for my chickens and rabbits.

I do love your barn. I am sure a barn like that would also keep cooler in the summer than mine that is made of galvanized tin.

I had a beautiful roo that kept attacking me and chasing my grand kids, sadly I hate to kill him.

earth heart said...

What a nice cozy home for your chickens and that Khan is a handsome guy. I really love the photos.

Loring Wirbel said...

Did you notice that the back of his comb almost looks like a human hand being offered to shake? Definitely classier than the three who ended up as next week's dinner.

VioletSky said...

Your barn looks so cosy - (I especially love that shot with the one chicken looking out the window!)

jayedee said...

the shot of the chicken lookiing out of the window looks like something out of a fairy tale! i'm totally envious! and the picture of the footprints? awesome!

Ginnie said...

You are such a true, real farmer, Don. I declare!

Ruth said...

That Japanese Bantam looking out at the white Polish was a moment I was lucky to see. If I'd been a minute sooner I would have gotten two Bantams looking out that window.

Maybe you should start a children's book about your chickens.

Don said...

denise: I think it is a basic barn, but it does have a basement, which makes it a little unusual. Our farm does have a separate chicken coop, but we converted it into a studio.

Don said...

sharon: thanks, it is a cool building. the photo of the bantam looking at the polish hen was a surprise!

Don said...

rose, it is much cooler in the basement of the barn even during the hot summer months.

mean roos attacking children deserve to flavor good soups!

Don said...

earth heart: khan is a good roo! I hope he stays that way!!

Ruth loves taking photos, thank you.

Don said...

loring: you're right about his comb looking like a hand ready to shake, except now it doesn't look like that! Ruth took that picture last summer and now he has more spikes coming out of his comb.

The roos are definitely meaty!

Don said...

violet sky: I'm not sure 25 degrees F is very cozy, but feathers are definitely warm. I have read the feathers are better insulators than fur.

Don said...

jayedee: Once upon a time, there was a little chicken who thought he could...

Don said...

ginnie: a real farmer I ain't! I am more like a dabbler

Don said...

Ruth: One of these days...

warren said...

Don - you've unearthed dinosaur tracks at your farm! Awesome!

I love the tracks on your setp...nice coop too!

Don said...

Warren: i'm glad they aren't raptor tracks! I hear they can be vicious!

I think these tracks were made by chickenus faticus.

Bob Johnson said...

The Rooster deed had to be done for sure. Boy they just don't build them, barns that is, the way they used to, and Ruth great catch with the footprints!

Don said...

bob:There are some fabulous old barns around the country. mine has 100+ years of age going for it to give it some character.

Sandy said...

I enjoyed catching up here, the last several posts. Great photos and those darn pillaging and raping roosters. sounds like indeed it was time they go...

enjoyed all posts...I've had one of those months...so behind on blog sites, etc...

Don said...

sandy: it's always nice to hear from you! No need to apologize, I always smile when you stop by...

Farm Chick Paula said...

Hurray for Khan-there is something to be said about being a gentleman!
I love the last picture, too, Don! It almost looks like you could see the writing in the snow- "Floozie was here"! LOL

elizabethm said...

What a fabulous chicken house you have in your barn - makes my wooden shed look a bit paltry!
At the moment we have two cockerels and they are currently no trouble except for a bit of competitive crowing every now and then. We lost our previous one to a dog but I think a good cockerel adds a lot to his flock by keeping an eye and generally shepherding his girls about. There is a world of difference between a good rooster and a bad one - bad ones are for the pot!

Don said...

paula: Having a "good" rooster does make the farm feel more "farmish" too!

Floozey is a cutie, but she is the coop goosip. She is alwayas nosing around in all the nesting boxes, and picking on the little bantam boys.

Don said...

elizabethm: that must have been annoying to have your roo done in by a dog. Whas it a neighbor's dog?

Morna said...

Your barn is beautiful, and the photo of the wall-window-chicken is gorgeous. And perfect. I wish you would put it on Flickr so I could tag it as a "Favorite." What a beautiful greeting card/calendar picture it would be.

Anet said...

What a great barn, someone was thinking when they built that!
I love the shot with the chicken looking out the door window. How Cute?! Here's to stay warm in Michigan!

Ruth said...

Morna, I added the chicken photo to flickr. :)

Click here for my flickr site.

Don said...

morna: Thank you! Barns are cool inventions. The chicken on the inside is a white Japanese Bantam. He is working on becoming a casanova, but the large hens don't take him seriously...yet

Don said...

anet: feathers are very warm insulation, so I think the chickens will be OK in the coop. I wonder if they will switch roosting positions when it really starts geting cold. I know I would want to snuggle up between the cochins, (they are really poofy).

Don said...

Ruth: thanks for doing that. you have lots of gret photos at flickr

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