Bringing Chickens home for the first time. What I learned

Bringing Home Chickens for the First Time | What I Learned

Recently after a long wait I found myself finally bringing home chickens for the first time. I was so excited and ready to go. It happened out of nowhere and I was almost completely unprepared. This was my experience. I made some mistakes and I learned some things along the way. There were some obstacles but it all turned out awesome in the end.

Lately I have been getting more and more in to sustainability. Focusing on using found material when working on my hobby farm is an important part of that. I waited years and started to wonder if I would ever get started. I kept believing the right setup was going to come along and Oh boy it did!

Bringing Home Chickens at their old home.
The Ladies Before Moving

How I Got My First Chickens

I do in home computer repair for a living and was talking to a client/friends of mine one day on a service call about their chickens. We always have coffee and talk for awhile after I finish up on their computer. During our conversation I mentioned that I want to get chickens Bad. She immediately let me know that a friend of hers was selling his coop and fence because he was moving. He only wanted $200 for it! I hadn’t seen it yet but a coop a fence and four hens for $200 was a no brainier for me. She immediately let him know she had a buyer. I had no idea how perfect it was going to be but first some random craziness.

Destaster Strikes

I was so excited to be bringing home chickens but there was one problem, someone else that may have been interested. No coop for me. It was over quicker than it started. I thought.

While over at my dad’s house that night I was talking to his wife about it and that I was waiting to find out. I hadn’t even mentioned the people’s name but she seemed to already know about it. Turns out her and dad where the people in front of me to purchase. I was sure it was going to stop there. My dreams were crushed, I was super disappointed. Oh, well I figured.

The next day though, I get a phone call from my dad. He is with the seller for a completely different reason than the chickens. Dad knew I really wanted to get chickens. He had decided to let me get them instead. Gordon and I talked about it and the coop was mine. I just had to go meet him and get it.

Back up a Little

Let’s back up a little because this is important in keeping with how perfect this whole situation was. Back in July of 2017, almost two years about, I started working on the spot where I would put the chickens when I got them. This was a real “If you build it they will come.” thing. This is a view out my office window where I planned to put my chickens.

Getting Ready for Chickens

You will notice I had these rocks laid out and de-limbed a bunch of trees to the height of a fence. I made about a 50 foot by 50 foot area for them. I didn’t know when I would get them just that I would at some point. There are a few reasons I chose this spot. The main reasons were wanting to be able to see them out my office window and for them to be under a lot of shade. We live in the high desert so it gets pretty hot in the summer and we have raptors everywhere. I want my chickens safe and fulfilled. Chickens need an area that encourages natural behaviors to be truly happy. Hiding under trees to avoid the sun and trying to not get eaten are a couple of those natural behaviors.

Moving The Coop

After meeting Gordon and The Ladies we decided I would move it the following Monday. Moving it turned out to be a lot of work. I had to get it all moved in one day because this was the chickens home. We needed to make it quick. After much effort to get the fence torn down the hard part started, getting the coop on the flatbed trailer. I didn’t get any pictures of loading it but this coop is robust to say the least. We used a come-along to pull it up on the trailer. Just as we got it all set the sky started looking angry.

After towing the coop home I proceeded to get stuck in the mud. This monstrosity is so heavy it was like an anchor in the mud. I wound up having to use a come-along to get my truck unstuck and point in the right direction to drop the coop. Meanwhile The Ladies have no idea what is happening and are making a racket in the kennel.

Bringing Home Chickens - Coop Location

By this time I was by myself and wound up using a come-along and chains again the lasso the coop to a tree while I pulled the trailer out from under it. The coop settled exactly where I wanted it but I did overlook one thing. It isn’t level. Not sure the chickens really care but I would have liked to to be level. If I had had more time I would have liked to do a concrete foundation for it. I hear it is much easier to clean. A project for another time I guess. At least the chickens could sleep in their home for the night.

Install a Fence Before Bringing Chickens Home

Before Bringing Home Chickens You are going to need to get a fence installed and the more secure from predators the better. Keeping your chickens where you want them is real nice too. Ideally you are going to want a fence in place before you get chickens. I didn’t go that route. I got the coop, the chickens and the fencing material all at the same time.

The fence that came with the coop is pretty awesome. It is a modular fence that is designed to be movable. I will go in to more detail in another post. But first, I needed to get something in place to keep the chickens safe though and I needed to do it quick. The first thing I did was made a small run that is attached to the back of the coop that I call a security run. It is dug in to the ground 6 inches, 12 would be better, made from Welded Wire Fence and Chicken Wire top. I wound up keeping it after installing the large module fence because of the added security for when I am not home.

Selecting a Location for the Gate

Now that I had something in place so the ladies could be outside it was time to set to work on getting the large fence in place. First thing I did was choose a spot for the gate. You want it to be someplace easily accessible. I figured put it someplace level and with easy access to the fresh delicious eggs. Always make sure your posts are plumb.

I stretched out the fence rolls to find out where to place the posts. With all the posts installed I dug a trench for the fence to set in to. Digging your fence down at least 12″ is a great precaution against predators from digging under your fence.

Then I hung my fencing material and used tent stakes and secured the bottom of the fencing material in to the bottom of the trench.

Getting the fence install took me about a week. Anytime I was working I would let The Chickens free range. They would pretty much just hang out with me and dig around in whatever dirt I was throwing. It was really fun to get to interact with them watch them. Remember this is my very first experience with chickens.

Bringing Home Chickens - Chickens watching you watching them
Stella and Darcy are Always Watching

Finally the Fence is Complete

Again, it took me about a week to install the fence and I was ready for it to be over. Getting bored easily is something I struggle with so completing what I start always feels good.

As you can see it is a large run for the chickens. Remember earlier I told you that I had selected the area for the chickens almost two years ago? The amount of fence I got with the coop was exactly, not almost, but exactly the right amount to perfectly fence in the area I had preplanned two years prior. I thought that was pretty amazing.

I Am Now a Chicken Farmer

That was my experience with Bringing Chickens Home for the first time. In the end it wound up being a lot of fun to get the coop in place and protected. Hanging out with the chickens was a lot of fun too. As it turns out one of the best parts of having chickens is watching them. They really are hilarious. However, If you can, I would highly recommend getting the run set up get chickens. Gordon also threw in the watering system, a bunch of feed and meal worms.

Having it all in place felt so good. I was finally a chicken farmer. Next was to start making it work better and get some chicks to raise but that is for another time.