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For the Love of Chickens

This past week I got a little break from my main job as Mama to reclaim my position as lead chicken wrangler here at the ranch. It's been almost four years since I got my first chicks and a lot has changed -- mainly the size of our operation. The chickens now have a spacious coop and the run of the ranch (though they don't stray far from home in January.) I took a break from a mid-winter cleaning of the aforementioned coop to shoot some photos, and I am also including a little blast from the proverbial past: a throwback to my first coop...You wouldn't think chicken coop cleaning would be an enjoyable task, but I had plenty of company (feline, canine, and avian) and my goodness did it feel good to be outside.

Red Molly, our biggest hen, roosting in the rafters. It's a popular place to hang out in the winter. Because heat rises, I suppose? Molly is a buff orpington, a great layers with a gentle personality...don't tell anyone, but she is one of the favorites...

The barn cats felt they needed to supervise the coop cleaning, but it turned out not to be as interesting as they hoped. Or maybe it is just that fresh hay is so comfy to nap on, one can't help but get a little snoozy. The chickens didn't seem to mind sharing their humble abode for the afternoon, as long as the cats remained indifferent to the scratch feed.

My city girl, Lily, also wanted to be on hand to help. When we first made the transition to letting the chickens be entirely free-range, I worried that she might be a chicken chaser (that is the polite way of saying chicken killer) but she is quite the opposite. She doesn't seem too concerned with them one way or another. And I guess they aren't much concerned with her either.

MY FIRST COOP + THEO...The Poultry Palace est. 2007...this coop was built by a young friend for his first flock. It was passed on to me for my first flock. Apparently the chickens weren't the only ones who found it to be a good place to hang out! Theo, one of my bum lambs, regularly inspected the chickens' accomodation to make sure they weren't superior to his.

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