Beaktime Beakup Waterer Cups












Chicken Blog

By: Daily Omelet

Moving the Chicken Coop

When I built this chicken coop, I never thought it would need to be moved. As it turns out, it had to be moved, and quickly. My brother and I are both big guys so I figured we could pick the chicken coop up onto a trailer and move it away. So we both grab an edge on the same side and 1, 2, 3 ...... nothing. The downside of building a chicken coop with full framing as that it weighs a ton (or at least half a ton).

We tried a lot and it just wouldn't budge. Fortunately, my brother volunteered his truck and his hoist and we slowly but surely hoisted it up onto his trailer and we moved it to its new location. My chickens were relieved when I got them out of my duck coop and moved them back into their rightful home. The ducks were relieved as well since they were not too happy about the newcomers. Now that the chickens and the ducks all have their own space, food and water; everyone is happy.

The City of Austin will pay you to keep a chicken coop in your backyard

AUSTIN - Do you dream of having your own chickens?
Dream no more. The City of Austin is offering free chicken keeping classes and is willing to pay you for it.
The city announced Thursday that as a part of Austin Resource Recovery's Home Composting Rebate Program, Austinites can attend one of five "chicken keeping classes," buy a chicken coop, submit a rebate application online and receive a $75 check from the city.
Austin Resource Recovery is promoting the program as a way for Austinites to help reach the city's Zero Waste goal by keeping food waste out of the landfill.
"Chickens recycle your food scraps while giving you fresh eggs and creating healthy soil," the city said in an email.
Unfortunately, all of the available classes are full, but the city is planning to offer more. You can learn more here.

New Baby Chickens Again

We started with 6 hens but one never got going and died. We had 5 great laying hens until a racoon found a weak spot in the roof and made it's way into the coop to eat all of their food, and fortunately not the chickens. In the process, one chicken got sick and we had to put her out of her misery. It was a good process to go through having chickens but it is tough the first time. For more details, click here. So we were down to 4 chickens but we have space for 6: 60 square feet of run space (10 per bird) and 24 square feet of coop space (4 per bird) so we decided to get more chickens. There will be a some diversity in the flock starting this summer when they integrate with the old flock. We have 4 new chicks name by my 2 year old son; Captain (barred rock), Birdie (leghorn), Burrito (Orpinton), Manfred (Americauna). I know what you are thinking. I just said I have room for 6 birds but will soon have 8 full grown chickens. Well we eat chicken so it only seems right that we do some of the dirty work in the process and butcher our own chickens so we will get up to 8 and then go back down to 6 laying hens. We probably should not have named them but it is so hard to avoid getting attached to those cute little chicks. We'll see how it goes...

Adding bees to the mix

We now have honey bees. I like a little honey but they produce an insane amount of honey! I did not steal any the first year but took some the second year because they can't eat it all and it just goes bad by the end of winter. I love the happy sound of their buzz when I check on them. A couple of times I have had to make some adjustments to their hive and that happy buzz quickly turned into an angry hum. That was less exciting but I have only been stung once and usually do not even wear my bee suit. They are a great addition to the backyard farm.

New Baby Chickens

Having my own chickens has changed my life. It is a great way to provide your own food that you know exactly what was fed to them and exactly how they have been treated. Plus nothing beats the taste of a fresh egg!
Many of my friends have started raising chickens after I convinced them it was a good idea and explained how little maintenance they are. People seem so surprised when I tell them that I only fill their feed and water once a month. I even convinced my mother to get her own chickens. Of course I had to prmoise to build the coop for them so here goes another coop. It will be 6 feet long and 4 feet wide with a 6' X 8' run. She will have 6 chickens so they will have 4 square feet each indoor space and 12 square feet each outdoor space since there will also be space under the coop for them to roam.

Here are the chicks! 
They are living is a 4' X 4' X 4' brooder so they have plenty of space to grow up.

They are growing up fast

Building a New Chicken Coop

Here is the yard before any building starts. We had to move the berries to the other side of the yard and still must move the patch behind the garden bed.

To start, I measured the area and plotted where it will go and then dug the trench, filled a layer of pea gravel in the bottom and spent a lot of time getting the bricks level.

Enough bricks are down that I can start working on building the actual coop.

The frame is built. Now time for the walls and roof.

It is starting to look like a chicken coop. I realize now that it probably did not need to be so tall but it will be nice and comfortable to walk in the run without bending over so it will be nice

The coop is complete with a sliding door to the run, three nest boxes, a cedar roof and a poop station that will make cleaning the coop very easy. Now we just need a run and the chickens can move in.

The chicken run is in. The coop just needs a door, some trim and finish, paint and detailing and the chickens can move in. They are excited about moving in and cluck about how tired they are of living in their brooder every day.

The chickens are safe and secure living in their new coop with a poop collection bin under their sleeping roost, waterer and feeder systems that only need to be refilled twice each month and a lot of fun things to do inside the run. Now we are just waiting for the egg laying to begin!

We have eggs! We get a steady stream of eggs and even got a minature egg this week. We get about 4 every day and that is the perfect amount of eggs for my family's needs.

The right to own chickens is being threatened

We have little to no control over what is in the food we eat and raising chickens is one way to start getting that control but that right is constantly being stripped away. Below is an example of someone who experienced exactly that. They were arrested for owning chickens in their backyard. This is an egregious attack on good citizens trying to have this basic right.

Link to news coverage

A Mid-Michigan couple was thrown in jail for the crime of keeping chickens on their property.
They're accused of violating city rules, but the couple said they have a right to farm.
"Never been to jail, never been booked. I felt so humiliated," Theresa Hurst said. "We were not granted due process. We needed an explanation about why we couldn't keep chickens."
Hurst and her husband decided to grow chickens because they wanted to know where their food is coming from and what she said is added security of fresh food. The city of Tawas wrote Hurst a letter back in June telling her she had 14 days to remove the chickens from her property.
"I asked the city several times, where are we on the status of this," she said. Hurst admits, she didn't remove the chickens within the 14 days, but said the fact that she and her husband were arrested for it violating a blight ordinance went overboard. "We felt junk charge was them flexing their muscles," she said.
Hurst said she's been reaching out to city officials, but has been stonewalled.
TV5 went to city hall to try and speak with someone there, but no one was available. They also called the attorney handling the matter for the city, but he wasn't available either. "We removed the chickens because we were skeptical about what tricks they'd pull next. We can't afford to post more bail," she said. Hurst said she's generated about 400 signatures from neighbors supporting her cause.
"I don't think they should've been arrested. It could've been something as simple as coming to her directly," Tricia Briggs said. Ultimately Hurst said she just wants justice.
"I'm trying to fight for what's right. I feel like I've been treated unfairly," she said.

That Question

Having chickens in my backyard for the last few years has led to many curious neighbors and random conversations where the same questions get asked. If you have chickens, I'm sure you have heard the very same questions over and over. I love it, when there is a crowd of people around the water cooler or at a party; mention raising chickens for eggs and one question always comes up. "Do you need a Rooster in order to get eggs?" I love answering questions about chickens and this one is especially fun. If you know, it seems obvious but if you don't know, you might feel silly when you hear the answer - it depends how much you paid attention when you were in school. The answer is “No”, you do not need a rooster for chickens to create eggs. They pump out eggs constantly with or without mister Rooster. If you want those eggs to end up on your plate as a tasty beautiful omelet, don't worry about the rooster. If you want that egg to be a beautiful little chicken someday, you need the Rooster. The rooster has his fun with the hen and fertilizes her so that when she lays, the eggs have what they need to turn into chickens. So you can have chickens without annoying the heck out of your neighbors from an All-Day noisy roo. Next time, we'll talk about some of the other common question you get as a chicken owner.




The second question everyone wants to know is how many eggs you get. "Do they lay an egg every day?" I always want to say "Yes, Of course. My chickens are the best chickens in the world" but it just isn't true. Good layers will give 4-5 eggs every week. Some weeks, that's what they would do; some weeks - not so much. Now my chickens are in their third year of laying and there is much less to brag about. Their production has slowed down and I get a couple eggs a week from each chicken. I'll have to change my name from "Daily Omelet" to "Omelet Every other day or so". I think they were worried about my cholesterol because I was eating three eggs a day for two years straight. Such considerate chickens. How am I going to repay them for taking my health into consideration? Butcher them? This leads to another question. Are you going to "Kill" your chickens and eat them... Loaded question, tough question. I'll talk about that later

To Eat or not to Eat
Would you eat your dog or cat?  Of course not, they are your pet and domesticated.  So it's the same with chickens, right?  Well, not exactly.  I have seen some pretty domesticated looking chickens from friends that dress their chickens in dresses and let them tromp around the inside of their house.  Cleaned feathers and the dress acts as a diaper so what's the issue with that?  I applaud people that can have chickens walk around their house but that is not for me.  Watching chickens interact is one of the funniest and amusing things there is but I'm good with doing it in the backyard.  So you get these chickens when they are 1 day old and raise them, play with them and tend to them and then one day, their laying comes to a slow grind.  What options are their?  Butcher them and throw them in a pot of stew.  Offer them up on Craigslist and hope someone will keep good care of them.  Keep them as a pet that does not produce eggs.  All three options have merit but which one is the right thing to do?  I am a meat eater so I have always felt that if you eat meat, at some point in your life, you should take the life of an animal and eat it so that you get the full understanding of what it took to feed you that meat.  One of the chicks in my first batch was a rooster so I finally had my chance; raise him up to the proper age, slaughter and eat.  He grew up with the other ladies and I kept a detachment from him so it would not be an issue on slaughter day.  The thing was, he had the most personality, hoping around the brooder and pulling things around, squawking and being super cute - earning him nicknames like Hopper, Roo and Sqeek-Squawk.  That did it, never name an animal you want to butcher.  It turns out I am not the manly man I thought I was.  I'm just a softy that loves his little chickens.  When butcher day came, I got on Craigslist and found a nice couple that was looking for a Roo for their flock of ladies.  They came with a homemade beautiful cage and took very good care of him in transferring so I know he had a good home.  It is still on my list to butcher a chicken some day so maybe I will get the strength to do it someday but it will be with a lot of tears and guilt.  So it looks like I will be keeping my chickens into their old ages; maybe 10 years, without eggs.  It's not so bad, my dog never laid me an egg and my chickens never ate my shoes so I think it will be ok.



The Healthy Egg

Did I say that eggs are high in cholesterol? Not mine! Mother Earth News published a study that showed that Free Range eggs have 1/3 less cholesterol, 1/4 less saturated fat and a lot more vitamins than regular store eggs. Not only that but my chickens are stress free, or at least live in happy conditions. Another study showed that hens stuffed in crowded cages and not allowed the space they need create toxins in their bodies that get into their eggs and meat. It makes me happy to have my own chickens in my own yard so I know exactly what they have been eating and what they have been up to. On the other hand, I let me chickens eat slugs and that grosses me out a bit but you can't have it all. It feels good to know that the chickens are living good lives and providing good food for me and my family.



What are you? Chicken?

I am your typical urban backyard farmer (or at least I think I am). My house is on a cul-de-sac, I have less than an acre of land and my trash and recycling get picked up every week. I am very proud to have four gals with beaks in my backyard. The funny thing is, in my area there still isn’t a whole lot of us. We are in a large City close to Seattle, which is one of the forefronts for this new type of farmer. Recently, I have joined a moms group and while talking about what our toddlers ate, I mentioned that are son only eats eggs from our chickens. Suddenly, it was like a record player had just stopped; I could feel all the other moms reel their necks to my end of the conversation. One mom quickly asked, are you one of those moms that breast feed until their kids are 6 years old? Another quickly chirped (no pun intended), what are you, one of those hippy people? I never knew this simple sentence would cause such a stir. Somehow I was labeled one of those health crazed moms that let their kids eat dirt and play with slugs. I don’t think it is weird at all and was surprised of the comments I was hearing. To me, one of the greatest gifts I can give my child is the health from fresh foods and the understanding of where this food comes from. I care about the planet and doing my part to protect it. I don’t think of these things as earth shattering, just how I choose to live. Once I started talking about my thoughts on the subject the other moms started sharing their health tips as well and the conversation started moving along. Before long, I was getting all the usual questions by non-chicken people…aka don’t you need a rooster to get eggs? Aren’t they loud? You can have blue eggs, WHAT?? I think that because I am so typical in all the other factors of my life when something doesn’t fit a preconceived image, it really stops people in their tracks. It just goes to show, you can’t tell a person by the cul-de-sac they live on, who knows what is going on in the backyard! Long live the backyard farmer.


Pet owner or Farmer

So - You're like a farmer, right? Not even close. I think farmers are great and appreciate the food they provide but that is not for me. Chickens are great pets and great to have but I'm not the "Rise early in the morning and care for my Farm" kind of person. I'm more of the "Water and Feed my chickens once a month" kind of person. That is what originally attracted me to Beaktime. The waterer and feeder I have allow me to water and feed my chickens once every month.
What about the poop? My chickens only hang out in the coop to sleep or lay eggs or sleep, otherwise they are running around their run enjoying the sun and fresh air. They don't poop when they lay eggs so the only poop I saw was under their sleeping perch. Then they were walking around and dragging it all over the coop so cleaning was not fun. This led me to create a lowed pan below the sleeping roost that fell through chicken wire. Now the poop stays out of the coop and easily removed. I have a good smelling coop and only clean it that one time each month when I also give them new food and water. Then I toss the poop in the compost pile and work on my great fertile soil.

Beaktime Poultry Supplies
Beaktime Chicken Water and Feed
Copyright © Beaktime
    Home About Us Privacy Disclosure Warranty Questions Email Us Site Map Order Form