I am a nerd by trade, specializing in Microsoft technologies such as Azure, SharePoint and Office 365 as well as other content management systems. I also enjoy graphic design in PhotoShop and tinkering around with Arduino's and Raspberry Pi's.
Which came first? The chicken!
Which came first? The chicken or the egg? Well, for us it was the chicken, but happy to report they were soon followed by eggs - and LOTS of eggs :-)
We recently acquired some new ladies to the Weeks Family. They were ex-battery chickens, who we've called Violet, Elastigirl, Superman, Lex Luther and Invisible Women! We got 4 chickens because we thought this would me manageable and hopefully not make too much mess - but enough that they would be happy as flock animals.
Prior to their arrival, we purchased our coop and run from Chicken Coops Direct. It was the Devon Hen House with Run that we purchased. This hen house should sufficiently house 4-chickens, although you would want to let them out. In addition, the door on this hen house allows for the attachment of the automatic chicken door opener kit - as I can't promise I'll be up at the crack-of-dawn ;-) Their was also an optional add-on for all their initial requirements (food, mite spray, water feeder, hay, etc.) that we got just to make sure we have everything in to get us going.
They were in pretty poor condition when they arrived, with a lot of missing feathers. It's amazing really that it's acceptable in this society that animals can be allowed to get into that state. It really does make the case for free range chickens. Apparently they were off to the slaughter if they weren't purchased ... presumably to end up as pet food or alike. We hope they can have a nice stay here now :-)
At the moment we're letting them free-range for most of the day when we are about. On a positive note, they put themselves to bed at dusk. Although they do poop quit a lot and potentially could cause a fair bit of havoc in the garden (digging up things). Our garden is a reasonable size, and so far they tend to keep to the wooded area rather than the main are grass area where the kids play. What we'll probably do, is look to limit their free range time, that can be sufficient to balance with keeping the garden reasonably maintained.
I was surprised actually how much they drink. So in addition to their water feeder, I have constructed the following bit of soaker-hose pipework into another water tray for them.
The other night I was out in the garden - and found a WHOLE BUNCH of slugs. I collected them up a bucket ... however I haven't seen the chickens be all that keen on eating them - not that I noticed anyway! I don't mind if they do like to eat some slugs and ants :-)
Their confidence is increasing, and they don't now run in panic if I am a little closer! They have also got used to the cats being around, and the cat doesn't seem to want to try and make lunch out of them.
Next job is to put the picket fence up around the vegetable patch - but first for a hearty omelet for breakfast! :-)