October 30, 2013
Last year, when I was making plans for our first vegetable garden, I had no idea we'd be getting chickens. It was something we always talked about, but we didn't know we'd be acting on those plans so soon, so I didn't bother to factor them, much less the coop, into my garden scheme. Of course, now that I've had a chance to see the girls in action, I know I'm going to need to restructure next year's vegetable patch if I want any hope of growing vegetables mature enough to harvest in my backyard.
So, over the weekend, I leveled our existing raised beds, and plotted out the areas around the perimeter of the yard and the chicken coop where I'll most likely plant in the spring. I covered those areas with old hay from the coop, hoping to inhibit weed growth, and spread some sand and new hay in the coop for the girls. Before I plant seeds next year, I'll probably install a short fence around the yard to keep the girls out of my garden beds. It'll be short enough to hop over, but hopefully it will deter the girls enough that they won't do any serious damage. That's the plan for now, anyway, but I'm open to suggestions.
Speaking of the girls, we are now down to just one egg layer. Miss Seven-of-Nine (my black australorp) has decided she wants to be a mother. It started late last week when we noticed a large pile of black feathers in the nest box. The next day, I went out to the coop wondering why Miss Seven wasn't making her usual ruckus. She's our loudest, most obnoxious chicken, after all, so it's really strange when a whole day goes by without hearing so much as a peep from her.
When I peeked inside the hen house, there she was, sitting her broody self on a pile of eggs. I pulled her out and placed her with the other girls, gathered the eggs, and closed the door so she couldn't re-enter until it was time for bed. The next day she was back in the nest box, sitting on Amy's egg, so we did the same song and dance. Finally, on the third day, she seemed to snap out of it, and she hasn't been back in since. I still haven't seen an egg from her, either, so we'll see what happens.