Kung Pao, Cockamamy Farm’s rooster, is a happy man. After almost six months as the farm’s only chicken, Kung Pao finally has some friends of a feather. And these friends are of the female persuasion.
A big thanks to our friends Melissa and Kody over at Fluffy Butts Farm for selling us four year-old laying hens and seven little cuties who are a month or two old (gender TBD). We, and Kung Pao, are super excited to have the ladies and babies come to Cockamamy!
The mid-Century Modern-inspired chicken house exterior isn’t done quite yet (there are so many things that keep getting in the way of Lacey finishing the siding and Ben putting in the windows), but we made the inside super cozy. Here’s a tour:
Ben gave Lacey these vintage metal nesting boxes a few Christmases ago when we were new to the farm property hunt. Now, they finally are being put to good use.
This old wooden ladder was in the basement. A perfect perch and place to roost!
Ben found this metal step stool in the pile-of-barn.
Ben secured triangle shapes to the wall studs and added these square wooden scrap pieces to give the older birds a place to roost at night.
We added several inches of pine bedding to the house floor so that the chicken poop will compost. We will continue to add more bedding as needed and clean it out a couple of times a year. This is known as the “deep litter method.”
Finally, a couple of straw bales for nests and pecking.
After a fun hour of trying to catch chickens mid-afternoon (not a brilliant moment…we should have come at bird bed-time) with Melissa, Kody, and Joey by throwing out corn and trying to grab the birds by the legs, we brought home our new flock in our wire dog crate.
We put the crate in the coop, closed the coop door, and opened the crate. Some birds were braver than others, but after fifteen minutes, all eleven were discovering their new home, finding the feeders and water, making beds, and perching up high for the night.
Meanwhile, outside the house, Kung Pao was a little impatient to meet the “truck-load of ladies” we’d promised him earlier in the day. We had to keep the new birds shut inside the house for 12+ hours so they’d know that was their new home.
So Kung Pao greeted them from beyond the walls. He strut around, looking his brilliant best, and crowed to show them how tough he is. Inside, they were calling back and cooing. They made a date to hunt worms together the next day.
The next morning, we had these waiting on us.
And the eggs keep on coming. The four laying hens (the little ones will start to lay when they are about 6 months old) give us eggs in varying shades of brown. When seen together, they are a beautiful paint palette of cream, buff, taupe, and a rich caramel. So gorgeous!
Kung Pao is now the big man on campus, with his harem of four. He is quite the gentleman—when he finds a big, juicy worm, he calls to them and they come running to enjoy the catch he has provided. I am curious to see what sort of fuss he’ll make when he can start calling them into the garden to eat a fresh treasure off the vine! These free-range birds will have to armwrestle Lacey for her tomatoes.
We haven’t yet named the hens or the babies. But we have some ideas and I’m certain we will settle on appropriate monikers as we get to know them better. And they don’t seem too embarrassed by the under-construction state of their coop’s exterior. That’s a relief. If they were, they wouldn’t be a good fit for Cockamamy Farm, where under-construction is a way of life!
Happy spring and cheers to farm-fresh eggs at every meal!