Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Chickens Like the Coop, Not the Nest Box

The chickens are making themselves right at home at the little farm.  They've found places they like to take dirt baths near the barn, which makes nice muddy holes for the dog walk in when it rains.  They patrol the mowed areas around the house and out buildings, and inspect the compost daily.  They know to follow me to the corn crib each morning when I let them out of the coop so they can have breakfast, and they know to come to the sink in the yard where I keep a dish of water for them to drink.  

All of those things are on the list of approved chicken activities.  Laying their eggs in the outhouse, and on Brandon's table saw, are not on the list!  Finding a whole clutch of eggs in the bucket of grass clippings and wood chips in the outhouse is one thing, but having a chicken come scooting under the door of the outhouse while it's occupied by a human is startling to everyone involved.  I don't know why they don't like the nest box we provided them in the coop.  

They seem to like the coop for sleeping.  Each night, as the sun begins to set, I can find them inside the coop, perched on the roosts, and ready to be locked safely inside.  I'm glad for this, because there are barns, outbuildings, and trees around the farm that might look more appealing to the chicken mind, and after my experience with Helen and Mrs. Hall, once they start sleeping somewhere else, like on an elephant, it's a battle to get them back where they belong.   

I wondered if the chickens would mind having glass windows instead of solid walls around their roosts.  I thought maybe they would like it, since Mrs. Hall and June preferred sleeping in the open.  I like that I can easily look inside the coop from three sides and see what they are up to.  

I can walk up and look Poncho in the eye while he's on the roost.  The coop we built seems more like a big bird cage than a mini barn.  

I hope their coop feels like home.  Our little farm house feels like home to me now, even though I automatically started driving to our old house after work they other day, during rush hour, and ended up taking a long detour to get headed in the right direction.  I only made the same drive nearly every day for ten years, so surely in another ten it will be automatic to go the right way!

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