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Hen Hoop House 2.0

This is a short video on the newest addition of our hoop house for chickens, Hen Hoop House 2.0.  You can see the original in a previous post.  This version has several new modifications that make it even better!

Our First Attempt at a Hen Hoop House

Hen Hoop House with Red Tarp

Here is a picture of our chicken hoop house that we recently built.  I guess it is really a hoop hen house, as we plan to use it for chickens that we will free range during the day.  (So, it will contain some hens, a rooster, and a few guineas.)  You might say that it is Wolf Hill Hen Hoop House 1.0.

It originally had a green tarp, but we ordered a red tarp to match our barn, front door, and the buckets we made into nesting boxes.  I have also (since taking this picture) hung the waterer and feeder from the cattle panels.  Accordingly, I guess we are technically up to Wolf Hill Hen Hoop House 1.2.

The above video is of me discussing this our first try at building a hoop house.  There are lots of plans on the Internet, but we used the plans found on the Kentucky College of Agriculture website here.

Our plan is to put these in strategic locations around the farm where we want chicken and guinea activity in the fields and then move them around only occasionally.  We plan to build at least a couple more, and I have some ideas to improve the design.  So, I will post again soon with Wolf Hill Hen Hoop House 2.0!


Why did my chicken die?

Death is a regular part of life on a farm.  No matter how many times we lose an animal it still is painful.  Yesterday we lost a Black Australorp hen.  The day before she was normal. That evening she was lying in a strange position.  Today she is dead.

This is the second time that has happened in nearly two years of having chickens.  Certainly, we have lost others to predators, but this is only really the second completely inexplicable death.  Undoubtedly, there IS a cause of death.  We just have NO IDEA what happened.  Notably in each instance no other chickens were sick or died.

(Incidentally, we love Black Australorps.  Others must love them, too, because they always sell well.  They are beautiful and extremely gentle.)

All this to sadly say…chickens come and chickens go.  Why did your chicken die?Unless it is self evident or unless you want to pay for an autopsy, you may never know.

Chickens are both surprisingly resilient and yet sometimes surprisingly delicate.  It is sad to lose one because they are such useful pets, but expect it.  Don’t be discouraged and don’t give up.  You are probably doing a great job…it just happens.

We just read Ecclesiastes 1-6 this morning which was very timely.  To everything there is a season.  A time to be born and a time to die.  It will not be that way for ever, but for now it points us very vividly to the Fall.  It reminds us that everything is not right on Earth.  Death cries out for Redemption, Resurrection, and a Savior.

And that is just what is happening in the world.  Slowly but surely.

Redemption, Resurrection and Salvation.

And that is exciting.

How much does it cost to raise baby chicks to four weeks? About $7 per chick.



How much does it cost to brood (raise) baby chicks?  The goal of this post is to at least give you the tools to answer that question.  It depends upon a lot of factors that will be unique to your situation, so the answers aren’t specific but are more like estimates.  However, again, you should be able to use the information to figure out how much it costs in your situation.  I have organized it around the things you will need, and I have assumed an order of 25 chicks.

  1. A Brooder: A brooder is just something that you will keep the baby chicks in until they get big enough where they will not need a heat lamp anymore.  This obviously depends upon the weather, but that usually means about four weeks. The above is [continue reading…]

Order Chicks from a Hatchery v. Buy From a Local Farm (Like Us!)

Our Barred Rock pullet chicks that we ordered on February 20 have now arrived.  They are pictured above in the top picture.  The second picture is of the little gals who arrived about one week prior to that.

I would say safely, but that isn’t quite the case.  This order reflects the greatest loss we have experienced thus far in transport.  Upon opening the box, we found we had exactly a 25 percent loss.  The hatchery will credit our account for loss up to 48 hours, which is very fair we think.  Thankfully, the rest seem healthy and happy as can be.

For someone who wants to get into raising chickens for the first time or for someone who has been doing it for years, a decision has to be made as to where to procure the baby chicks.  In some places, this will be easy as there are no local options.  However, in other places, such as central Virginia, there are both local options (like us) in addition to the hatcheries.  So, which should you do: order the chicks from the hatchery yourself or buy them from a local farm?  (Again, like us.)  The following will present some of the benefits to you of buying the chicks from a local farm.  Of course, in addition to these benefits to you, you also support the local farm and food network, which is a good thing.

So, here we go.  Placing a chick order from a hatchery can be surprisingly expensive and daunting.  At this point in the year, [continue reading…]

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