Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Friday, March 4, 2011

Bird Brains!

My chickens are privileged. Pampered. Probably even spoiled.

Life is good at Red Bucket Farm for three lovely hens. They live in the "casa gallina," which is a freestanding fortress for poultry. They have a solid roof, hardware cloth screened walls, and reinforced wood flooring with plenty of bedding materials. The elevated hen house is well-insulated with a sturdy roost for sleep at night. It also has a ceiling vent at one end, and a pop-hole for their ladder at the other end, allowing for ventilation without draft. They have free access to let themselves in and out of the hen house whenever the mood strikes. Since I don't like the stink, I tend to keep it all rather clean.

When the girls arrived at maturity last fall, we provided nesting boxes for them to lay their egss. For my own amusement, the nest boxes are painted fun colors. The girls seemed to like the nest boxes and dutifully left me their eggs in the nests.

Once Wisteria the Columbian Wyandotte started laying eggs in late December, we had a new twist in our system. Wisteria didn't feel comfortable squeezing her large fluffy bottom into those cute nest boxes, so she would create her own nest in the hay. That would have been fine, except that she chose the least desirable location in the whole coop: directly at the top of the ladder and beneath the roost. It's icky there. Chickens normally poop quite a bit at nighttime, so cleaning up under their roost is a daily chore. (It makes wonderful compost, but that's another blog entry.) That location is also a bit dangerous since they could easily drop their eggs down the ladder. I quickly provided a larger nest for Wisteria. It's a coir basket liner for hanging garden baskets, and it makes a lovely nest when filled with hay. For the most part, Wisteria likes this place.

This morning I went out to clean the coop and gather eggs. The girls are happy and egg production is up, so I was shocked to find zero eggs in the nests! Instead, I found two eggs (thank you Rosie and Hyacinth) in a makeshift nest at the top of the ladder, in the poopiest corner imaginable.
I gathered the eggs, cleaned the poop and pushed the hay back into the corner again. I can't predict when the girls will build their own nests or use the clean boxes that I've provided. For now, I'll just enjoy the personalities of each bird and appreciate the fresh eggs.

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