Friday, September 28, 2012

Building your own cheep chicken coop!

The Coop.
My chickens had grown up enough that they could no longer fit in their little safe house cage. They were getting larger and larger by the day. I had to get them a coop, and soon. With working full time, having two little boys, a beast of a dog, 2 cats and a rabbit, plus paying my mortgage and car payment, by myself, my budget was slim. 

The Gnome
I had seen extravagant coops, 2 level chicken condos. I had seen some chickens just living with fencing and a tarp. I was very curious to see if I could come up with something adorable and inexpensive. The thought process had begun…My best friend and neighbor Sara had a little girl who had recently outgrown her Little Tykes® outdoor playhouse and had mentioned tossing it. What if that could be their new home with a few minor adjustments? I called her and asked her daughter Kylie if she would be willing to donate it for the love of her "Auntie's Flock". She had some minor conditions that I happily agreed to. One of them was she'd have to be able to come over, handle the chickens and feed them whenever she wanted. I am thinking, wait, you want to donate your little house and come feed the girls?! Deal! 

I packed up little S10 Chevy pick up and drove a street over to Sara and Kylie's place. We pulled the playhouse apart and put in safely in my truck bed. I pulled in my driveway so excited, this was completely free! Next step, let's spray it down and clean it up. I recruited my little boys for this task. Owen is always loving to clean and scrub, so I filled up a bucket with soapy bubbles and a neat little scrub brush. He insisted on doing this task, so I let him. 

The next day, Sara came over and we gave it another super scrub. (A little more power with two adults and some more elbow grease.) It's clean and ready to be put back together. Let's pick a spot in my yard. I was settled on the far corner of my yard, but decided that it would be better to keep it near my driveway, within my fenced in yard. It would be easier to get to in the cold winter months and the hose was there for a quick spray down when I cleaned the coop. I had a corner of my yard that I had moved my rose bushes to last year. They were still in shock, but trying to come through budding. I dug up the lilies I had planted there in front of the roses and replanted them to another spot in my yard. We placed the coop on the mulch and it fit perfectly, with the roses coming up directly behind the coop. 

Next, I had to think about screening. I poked around in my shed. It just so happens I had old metal screening from a previous project. I cut the metal screen with scissors (I recommend you use wire cutters) I was determined that my chickens would sleep in there that night and didn't have wire cutters. (1 hour later) I whipped out my power drill. Sara held the screening in place and I drilled directly into the plastic house. We covered every window with the screens and was perfect. Now about the door, it's a small dutch swinging door. How will I make this work? I had purchased a pink and purple shower curtain at my local WalMart for $3. I cut a strip to fit in front of the door from the inside. I drilled and screwed that in, leaving the bottom half open for the swing door. 

I think I may have to find a more solid solution for the door, possibly The Incredible Poultry Door™, but for now it works perfectly. With a fenced in yard and a bullmastiff on staff, I feel confident the chickens are safe. I will purchase plexiglass to insulate the windows for the colder weather. My boys and went on a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood, found some big branches and placed them inside the coop. I had been growing some fresh grass and herbs in a planter and placed that inside for the girls to munch on. Under the little kitchen sink, there are cabinets. 

I decided to make that the girl's nesting boxes. I placed very own Excelsior Nesting Pads in the cabinets. Since the little house had a small window planter, I picked up some purple mums and placed them inside the planter with a garden gnome whom once lived within my strawberry patch. 

The girls love their home and primarily sit on their kitchen table to cuddle at night time. Since my chickens are all named after Rock Stars, I named their coop "The Hen House of Blues". 

The breakdown:
Coop: Free | Screening for windows: Free | Gnome: Free | Shower Curtain: $3 | Mums for planter: $4
Excelsior Poultry Pads: $12.95, $1.30 each, available in a 10 pack | Total: $19.95

Hen-dy, Creative Department

L to R: Branch and nest pads. Chicken Salad. Room with a view.
L to R: Pat Hen-a-Tar Peeking out. Their sign. The girls scratching.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012


The founder of has taken home The Universal Thermostat (FHP-UT115) with Sherry's chicken's fertilized eggs. 

The results are amazing, with 85% hatch rate, we are more than pleased! Do you purchase your chicks or hatch them yourself?

Hen-dy, Creative Department

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Chicken Scraps

I am new to having chickens. Mine are only 4 weeks old, but seem to be getting larger and larger by the day. Between them and my human sons, I am afraid they will eat me out of my home. The rock band (my 4 chickens) eat what seems to be a lot of chicken feed. I use Manna Pro® Medicated Complete Crumbles for Chicks purchased it here at I give them one cup twice a day, and it's gone within seconds of feeding time. 

I have been bringing them outside 3-4 times a week for 
field trips to the garden. I found that they love pincher bugs, (Earwigs).  (EW!) So, I open up the garden, lift up some wood and the chickens go crazy. They get so excited to catch the creepy, crawling insects. Henry-Rollins pulled a Karate Kid move the other day and caught a fly right of the sky with his beak. These birds are terribly funny to watch. After they started going after the bugs, I asked, what can "teenage chicks" eat other than chicken food? Turns out, a few things. And when they get older, they will eat almost anything! I did some research and found somethings that are good to feed them, and some not advisable. Please share your insight and chicken dining recipes here on our blog! 

Hen-dy, Creative Department

Good to eat:

General Opinions
Raw and applesauce
Apple seeds contain cyanide, but not in sufficient quantities to kill.
Raw or cooked
Okay to feed, but not a favorite.
Without the peel
High in potassium, a good treat.
Well-cooked only, never dry
Also, greenbeans.
Greens also

All kinds
A treat, especially strawberries.
All kinds - good use for stale bread or rolls
Feed starches in moderation.
Cabbage & Brussels Sprouts
Whole head -
Hang a whole cabbage from their coop 
ceiling in winter so they have something
to play with and greens to eat.
Raw and cooked
They like carrot foliage too.
Cheerios, etc
Avoid highly sugared cereal
Including cottage cheese
Feed in moderation, fatty but a good source of protein and calcium
On cob and canned, raw and cooked
Crickets (alive)
Can be bought at bait or pet-supply stores
Great treat – provides protein and it’s fun to watch the chickens catch them.

Let mature for yummy seeds and flesh.
They prefer cooked

Make sure they haven't been treated with pesticides, such as florist flowers might be
Marigolds, nasturtiums, pansies, etc.
Pears, peaches, cherries, apples

Bulgar, flax, niger, wheatberries,etc
Seedless only
For chicks, cutting them in half makes it
easier for them to swallow
Great fun - the cause of many entertaining "chicken keepaway" games.

Only feed your chickens that which is still considered edible by humans, don't feed anything spoiled, moldy, oily, salty or unidentifiable

Lettuce / Kale
Any leafy greens, spinach collards, chickweed included
A big treat, depending on how much other greenery they have access to.
Cantelope, etc
Both seeds and flesh are good chicken treats.
Raw or cooked
Cooked is nutritionally better.
Pasta / Macaroni
Cooked spaghetti, etc
A favorite treat, fun to watch them eat it, but not much nutrition.
Peas and pea tendrils and flowers

Peppers (bell)
Raw or cooked
Positive feedback on these.
Seeds are a big treat.
Popped, no butter, no salt

Potatos / Sweet Potatos/Yams
Cooked only - avoid green parts of peels!
Starchy, not much nutrition
Pumpkins / Winter Squash
Raw or cooked
Both seeds and flesh are a nutritious treat.
Right out of the box or in breads

Cooked only
Pilaf mixes are okay too, plain white rice has little nutrition.
Scratch is cracked corn with grains (such as wheat, oats and rye) mixed in
Scratch is a treat for cold weather, not a complete feed. Toss it on the ground and let them scratch for it for something to do.
Wheat and oat sprouts are great
 Good for greens in mid-winter.
Summer Squash
Yellow squash and zucchini
Yellow squash not a huge favorite, but okay to feed.
Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds with the shell still on is fine to feed, as well as with the shell off
A good treat, helps hens lay eggs and grow healthy feathers.
Raw and cooked.

Not a huge favorite
Served cold, it can keep chickens cool and hydrated during hot summers
Seeds and flesh are both okay to feed.
Plain or flavored
A big favorite and good for their digestive systems. Plain is better.

Not good to eat:

Raw green potato peels
Toxic substance called Solanine.
Anything real salty
Can cause salt poisoning in small bodies such as chickens.

Dried or undercooked Beans
Raw, or dry beans, contain a poison called hemaglutin which is toxic to birds.
Avocado Skin and Pit
Skin and pit have low levels of toxicity.
Raw eggs
You don’t want to introduce your chickens to the tastiness of eggs which may be waiting to be collected in the nestboxes.
Candy, Chocolate, Sugar
Their teeth will rot… No, it’s just bad for their systems, and chocolate can be poisonous to most pets.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Egg-Cellent uses for egg cartons and trays

Here are some great uses for egg cartons and trays!

Please share your unique uses for our egg trays and cartons! 

Monday, July 2, 2012

So, it's Paul (Owner) and his wife Pauline have chickens. Sherry (office managing extraordinaire) also has chickens....

I knew it was only a matter of time before I would be a proud chicken mother also.

I am human mother, with human children, and all out just plain old animal lover to no end. (Actually, the chickens would be the end, no more pets after these little ladies) So, we carefully incubated them in our CA-115 Incubator in the office. 22 days later, Hen-ry Rollins arrived, my first baby was born! I rushed my little boys (humans) into the office to meet with Sherry to show them our newest addition. The kids were oohing, ahhhing, cuddling, and loving Henry. Pat Hen-a-tar was next. While Henry was drying off, Pat was exhausted from hatching. It was truly an amazing experience from the beginning. We had 13 eggs hatch and 12 of them made it. I took 4 home to brood, and Sherry has the rest she will be brooding until it's time for them to go to their forever home...

I have to say, I have given birth to actual human children, and it was the hardest thing I have ever done. Watching the eggs, day in and day out, anxiously waiting, candling, talking to them, and hearing those first peeps was just overwhelming sense of happiness. My chickens are named Hen-ry Rollins, Pat Hen-a-tar, Stevie Chicks and Glenn D. Henn. They are all adjusting, and had their first time out my yard over the weekend. What a joy to have!  I highly recommend hatching your eggs in the CA-115 incubator with The Basic Hatching Package by Fall Harvest Products includes a Circulated Air Incubator, #FHP-CA115 & an Egg Turner, # FHP-ET115. If this is your first time hatching eggs this package is exactly what you need to get started. Ours was done with great success!

Hen-dy, Creative Department

Incubating the office eggs

Candling the eggs

Peep! Here I am!

Hi, I am Henry!

I am handsome all dried off!

Pat Hen-a-tar likes to stand on the food and drinks....