Sunday, October 13, 2013

Tour D' Coop - Coop # 3

Welcome to Coop # 3 on the now famous Coop D' Tour.

This particular coop was very difficult to FIND and get to. Miles of driving up and down mountains and over hills and dales. I had a long line of cars behind me and had to drive slowly so we didn't lose anyone.
The scenery was beautiful: Cows, fields, trees, old barns, old trucks, dusty roads.....

When we finally arrived, most of the guests wanted to know "where the heck are we!" So the host, Richard, tried to point out, on a map, where we "might" be.

Once we realized this location was "off the map" Richard gave a history of his farm and his poultry addiction.

I tried to take photos as we talked and walked.

Here are a few of his poultry coops. Different sizes for different functions.

Raised gardens with trellises. Doing well after 5 weeks of nutrient leeching rains (this was in August)

One of the interesting areas was the one where the geese were kept.

These Pilgrim geese are huge, friendly, noisey and protective of their area. They reside in a 3 sided shelter year round.  Raccoons and coyotes do not bother this flock. They fight back.

The crowd of Coopsters had lots of questions about these unique auto sexing breed.
(Auto sexing means that the females are gray and the males are always white. No guessing required...)

This male is the largest goose I have ever met.  The photo does not show his true size.

There was another male goose, the son of the big male, watching the crowd and following us around.

I kept coming back to the raised gardens.   Much easier to weed. Easier on the back.
Grows faster than a flat ground garden.  I might have to make a few.
He has it all fenced in to keep the giant deer out.

The gardens are next to the goose shed.
The geese are allowed to free range during the day and when they were let out while we were there...they immediately ran down the hill and across the street to a big pond to swim with wild Canada geese and then waddle back to the shed when the sun starts to set.

It is an amazing sight to see.   

Next we headed for the chicken coops.

Richard built a beautiful chicken tractor for his growing chicks.

There is a wire shelf in the back for the chicks to sit on while the chicken tractor is pushed to a new area.  Works great.   They don't get bumped as their shelter is rolled to a new location.  It makes a smoother transition.

Richard was selling all these pullets for $5 each. He had my immediate attention. This is exactly what I wanted. Already easy to see most were females.

All the little kids just loved the chicks.

I did too. I wanted all those Barred Rocks.  But I was the lead car in the convoy of vehicles from one coop to another, so I would have to wait to come get them.  Each of the passengers in my vehicle (we car pooled to cut down on the amount of autos) offered to hold one chick each on their laps, but I nixed that idea.
I was even thinking about getting a few of the reds as well.

The kids were picking out the ones they wanted too....

This chicken tractor is on wheels and easy to move, quickly from one grassy area to another, several times per day.. The wire shelf is what makes it really efficient.

Next building was a broody hen area.

Hens gotta have flower boxes.  You knew that, right ?

Closed in the front and open in the back, its used only in the summer to house hens who are sitting on nests or who have young chicks.

Richard crawled in and got a broody Blue Laced Red Wyandott (BLRW) and her chick that had hatched yesterday.

This hen is related to my 2 BLRWs. I got my chicks from Richard in March.
I drove here in a blizzard. Got lost, of course.  And still can't find the place.


These birds are real eye candy.   Just about everyone in the crowd wanted them.

 Mom and her new chicks went for a casual walk amongst the field as we continued out fascinating tour.

Nearby was the communal coop where all his hens live.

It faces south and gets lots of sunlight.  This is a big coop.  20 x 10

There are multiple sets of nesting boxes and a few cages to separate broody hens or young chicks from the more aggressive adults.
BLRW and rare Blue Copper Marans were getting a few snacks while we admired them.
A Welsummer is in the background.

A flock of chickens are mesmerizing and many people were busy enjoying the different groups of hens that populated the yard.

A few of the guests were writters for magazines and local newspapers.
Some had never been on a coop and garden tour before.
At this point, 99% of the coop touring folks had come up to me to say that this was the best and most unusual event they had attended in years. ( #1 spot belongs to the Strolling of the Heifers in June)
I had to laugh because we still had three more coops to get to!

Very interactive group. Lots of questions and lots of different answers from the assortment of other chicken owners.  

The crowds kept going back to the big coop to look closer at the design and materials, most of them recycled from other projects and found at curbside.
Best Yet: This coop has electricity .
Something we all wish we had in our rural coops.

One of the roosters snuck out the back door to avoid the crowd.

I went back to the chicks and started picking out the ones I was going to come back for after the tour.
( if I could find this place again!!)
In addition to the barred rocks there were RI Reds and ameraucanas.

I loved this tree trunk as a solid step. It was perfect.
The tree was several hundred years old.

Next stop was to the patio to lean about incubators, chicken diseases, pests and good reference books.

There were lots of questions about hatching different breeds and species of poultry.

Richard is a Master Hatcher.  He answered all the questions and soon had most of us wanting our own incubators.

This is Linda, with the loose goose keeping an eye on her.
I pressured her into getting chickens this summer.      Not really.
She heard myself and a few other chicken owners talking about how great they are for bug control and how delicious FRESH eggs taste, so she motivated her husband to allow for a few new mouths to feed.

She also has a house built out of straw.  Really.  And has unusual squash that wear nylon stockings....
She will be the host for Coop # 4.     Stay tuned.

It was now 1 pm and we were all getting tired and very hungry. These coop tours are strenuous affairs, but no one planned for lunch......  and we were many miles from the nearest store.....

Most of us were too busy reading books and touching the incubators.

Richard highly recommended this book for the gardeners.
I was very pleased.
I had just found a copy at a yard sale for 25cents last month.
Its a great book.  

More good books for learning about the art of chicken keeping.

Diatomaceous earth is important for chicken owners. Richard explained the details.

Then we got to see the difference in egg color for different breeds of hens.
The darker eggs are from his Blue Copper Marans.
The dark, freckled eggs are from his Wellsummer hens and the light brown ones are from his BLRW.
The light blue eggs are from his Ameraucanas.

It was very difficult to get the group to leave this hen paradise.
There was much to see, do and talk about.
Richard had a ton of information and we all were learning all kinds of new stuff. It didn't hurt that he had chicks for sale and some great ideas and designs for his next coops he intended to build.
But we had to get going to the next coop.  I needed a cattle prod to get the group to start loading up in the vehicles so we could get going. We were 90 minutes behind scheduale because we were all having so much fun.

As we drove off to find our next coop I noticed that the mailbox was marked for late arrivals to find the place.    Clever.

If you missed the previous stops on the Tour, Glimpse Coop # 2 and #1 HERE

Hope you enjoyed the tour.

P.S. Someone on the tour bought ALL the chicks and came back the next day to pick up her first flock of chickens.   Good for her, bad for me. Drats!


  1. i can't tell you how much i am enjoying these tours! thank you so much and i can't wait for the next one!

  2. What fun...I so enjoyed this tour, it was interesting to see everyone's coop set up, no two those baby goats...Sending greetings...

  3. Wow you had quite a day♫ Thanks for the info...My Rurality:

  4. I so enjoyed your post Janis -- I have bantams and rocks mostly and want to get some marans next year. Thank you for all the great information and photos.

  5. Wow! What an adventure ~ love the photos and especially the mother hen with her chick ~ hope you rested and got provisions for the crew quickly ~ all looked tired ~ thanks, carol (A Creative Harbor)