Now that we are living essentially rurally, we decided to have chickens, ostensibly to help cut our food bill. However, that plan did not take into account the expense of building a coop. If you haven't priced lumber lately, rest assured, it has gotten expensive. However, now that the coop construction is (mostly) done, the only expenses should be feed, and chickens.
As we had gotten chicks at the Atwoods store in town, they had been living in the shop, in cardboard boxes. We did begin construction of the coop almost immediately, but it was slow going.
|Half walled in, you can see the sally-port for the chickens.|
|DH on the ladder|
|DH and Monkeyboy setting rafters.|
Compared to their size when we bought them, the chicks are huge now! The guineas are in adult plumage and their faces are beginning to turn white. Our Boss Chicken, Russet is huge, sporting a nice comb and wattles already--she's not quite full size, but not far from it either. They are funny things, the chickens. They have distinct personalities, some shy(Salt), some bold(the guineas), some bossy (Russet), Others are just docile, and friendly, like the Buff Orpingtons. I love those! They are the caramel colored birds above.
They should start laying in October, at 6mo age. That gives us some time to sort out building nesting boxes, and getting them mounted on the side of the coop for easy access to fresh eggs. It'll be next spring before we know for certain, if we have guinea hens, or a rooster in there. Apparently it is very hard to sex guineas. So if Samantha is a roo, she'll become Sam, or if Deanna is the roo, then she'll be known as Dean (my kids love Supernatural!) My hope is they are both hens, but we suspect Samantha is really a Sam...If we see little keets running around next spring, we will know! At least our chickens all seem to be hens.
We will allow the guineas to free range, and keep our fingers crossed that they are wily enough to avoid the dogs (Indy is just dyin' for chicken dinners!), and the neighbor's cats, plus the Mississippi Kites, coons, and other beasties that love chicken for dinner. Once the chickens are full grown, we may allow them some free range time, provided one of the kids is around to watch them. Chickens are just not as survival oriented as the guineas.