August 13, 2015

15 year Dream comes to fruition

 We have been on our property for over 15 years--- and from the time we bought it I've had a dream of owning my own chickens.  You see I grew up with chickens in a pen out behind one of our barns.  Then when I was old enough for 4-H I raised broiler chickens and turkeys (at separate times) along with the laying hens in our pen.  We always had a supply of eggs- Always!  And to this day anytime my Dad comes to visit he brings no less than an 18 pack of eggs for his girl (me) and sometimes more!

My cattlemen husband has always known of my love for yard birds/hen layers/feathered friends/cluckers or whatever name you might know them by...... but you see, he grew up with a father that despised the things (much unlike my Dad) who has continued to keep them. When hubbies parents bought the home place in Iowa the first thing- and I repeat first thing his dad did--- Tear down the Chicken shed......Yep- you read that right.  I of course was appalled the first time I heard this story (and the many times since) as I am reminded about it from his family anytime we visit or I mention my feathered friend dream.

Over the past several years anytime the kids have asked what sort of gift I want for a holiday (Christmas, Mother's Day, Birthday) my response has been - Chickens!  They got to the point where they would ask but say it 'Mom- we know you want Chickens- but what else?' Otherwise read as- you aren't getting them so give us another idea of something you might like......

Several years ago my parents cleaned out part of their barn and hauled over my old feeders from bygone 4-H days.... They have been stored here just waiting for a time they could be used.....

I always said if I had chickens they would eat in style.... so out come my paint colors.... I have my trusty turquoise, a chalk paint red, and a Brand Spanking new can of Junk Gypsy paint in Cornbread.  Why am I painting feeders if I have NO chickens???

Well......Cattlemen decided this was the year to make it happen for my birthday-- Y*E*S!!!!!  I immediately start thinking of cute factor and he starts measuring and calculating how many supplies we will need.  First things first- Clean Out Old Shed..... 15+ years of 'stuff'/'projects'/things waiting to happen = large burn pile.

 This stuff was in the shed- moved out to find new homes.
Don't scream at me- Most of what you see left in this picture did not get burned- especially the nice wood gate or the old whiskey barrel slats..... Most of the wood/super junky junk was on burn pile by now (with exception of old shelving unit and a worktable-they went on quickly) and things were starting to progress.

With helpers like this things can get moving pretty fast- awesome work ethic and work well together.  This is pretty much 'cleaned out' by now.  The kids thought we would have it done in a day- meaning cleaned and pens built not quite.

 Replacing a few rotten front posts was the first part to be accomplished- and then there is always a string line on any project we do. Might I say I am always impressed with Cattlemen's talents. Old rotted 4x4 post had to come out and holes dug to insert new ones in correct places for pen spacing. Mind you- this was the first weekend we were hitting triple digits- go figure.

Day 2- Invite Brother over.... ;-)  Extra drill, two extra hands = a lot of help!!!  Walls went up for the 3 pen areas.
 I of course contemplated painting them- but chose not to.
After wall braces we added the wire separating the pens.

 Day 3- This shows up!  I have them 'drop' it as close to the pens as possible since I would be the one hauling it in the pens.

 Good golly- this picture makes it look like a small mound of sand- It really started around 4/5' tall.... I shoveled and wheel barrowed into each pen filling with several inches of sand (that was my workout for the day!) and smoothing out just enough. We weren't expecting quite that much- but we will surely find other uses for it (garden beds maybe?) and haul it where it needs to go.

 Next - part of the 'cute' factor.... Cattlemen was all set to build doors for each pen- made from 1x6's-- they would have been stout to say the least.  Well, I've had a certain screen door in a shed a few years .... and I just knew I wanted it to be a door to one of the pens.  So I brought it out- he said yes and I opened some paint..... Then he asked me to find 2 more screen doors... Well, being the hoarder junker that I am- I Delivered!  woot woo- hoarding for years on end can have it's benefits...
Door 1- White Pen

Door 2- the First one I brought out-
The Red Pen

This door was on the house I grew up in and when my parents re-modeled this creamy colored screen door came off and was stored in this shed. It now serves a new purpose and has a new color!

 Door 3- The turquoise Pen.  This screen was given to me by a sweet friend last year after the barn sale- it was a greyish/blue with the white screen on it- again- out comes the paint!

Remember those galvanized little feeders I had been holding onto?  Well..... they have to match their pens is why I chose the paints that I did!  The Cornbread yellow is for the 'white' pen- which will have yellow accents!

 Delivery Day....... This is one of the sweetest men I know (no- it's not my Dad even though some may think so- he is keeping his chickens!) who delivered the ordered birds to us.  *Note- the good lookin guy in the back is Cattlemen and has a Giant smile on his face..... I'm sure my m.i.l. will give him a hard time about that!

 move in time for the new birds- each kid grabbed a crate and carried them in... then had to coax them out!
 One happy boy holding his German Bielfelder little hen.
 Huge smiles holding the Blue Black Splash Orpington- these ladies will get big!

 Sweet girl showing off the Bielefelders.
 Getting used to their new home.

Next comes another part of the 'cute' factor.... I've been saving a few nesters back for the time that we had chickens on this place.....If you've ever been to the Barn Sale or have seen photos from it then you know I paint these with cute sayings.  I have always said the chicks could eat and sleep in style- Well, I have them painted to coordinate with their pen- but I'm stuck!  I cannot come up with the sayings for my own chick roost! That being said- feel free to send me some ideas!

Last year we visited my friend Linda at Texas Trash and Treasurers and I could not resist the cute arrow signs- at the time I had no idea where I would hang them.... Low and behold I found the perfect place....
Within the first 5 minutes of getting the birds my son says- 'Mom, they are already pooping'- Boys pay attention to those kinds of details!!!

And last but not least- when we visited the sweet man (photo above) to see his chickens pre us getting ours he had something I wanted and knew we would need one.  A scale to weigh eggs- a Vintage Scale to weigh the eggs.
My cattlemen and kiddos were listening when I oohed and ahhed over his scale- so guess what this girl found in a birthday gift bag????  Yes- my very own- in my fav colors to boot!  We cannot wait to start getting eggs from our girls!  The plan is to have a few more that are strictly for laying hens (I use eggs constantly for baking orders) and use these 'fancy' breeds to hatch and let the kiddos sell the chicks to raise money for various projects.

So there you have it- a 15 year dream that came to fruition in a very short amount of time and one very happy birthday girl- along with some kiddos that are loving it too!!

This little guy- well- he isn't so sure of the new neighbors.... hoping he will adjust soon! In the meantime he will still smile at us!!!

More chicken adventures to come.....

Click here to have our posts automatically sent to your email