Chicken keepers are a breed all to their own, and I mean that in the nicest way possible. I’ve met some of the most amazing people standing around the chick brooders in the spring at the local feed store, or in the poultry barn at the 4-H Fair, and especially here at Community Chickens… this website is aptly named.
Chickens truly create a feeling of community. And though some of you live 5 states away, your stories are dear to me. I love to hear about newbies with their first flock of fuzz balls. I remember that excitement, the feeling of a child on Christmas morning. I know that fascination that will find you sitting cross-legged on the floor watching your new chicks in the brooder until your legs fall asleep and the brooder lamp has you seeing red for hours.
And I am sad with you when tragedy strikes. I know that terrible feeling that we all have the first time we experience loss with our flock. The sick feeling in the pit of your stomach. The self imposed guilt, and the sadness, knowing that your flock will never be the same.
But from this loss comes knowledge. And like good neighbors, we have each other, united in our love for these little birds. It is comforting to know that I am only a click away from words of encouragement, sentiment and compassion to get me through a tough time and muster the strength to try again.
The touching story featured in this month’s Coop Story comes from reader Heidi King from Cedar City, Utah. Her experience truly demonstrates the compassion of the human spirit.
This past spring Heidi received 25 chicks in the mail. The next day, the worst happened. Her chicken coop, along with all 25 chicks, burned to the ground.
Heidi writes, “Apparently, the previous owners of our property had spilled gasoline on the wood floor of the shed that we turned into our coop.
We think the brooder light fell and ignited the gasoline soaked floor. We were devastated!”
But from this devastation came a lot of good. “We had neighbors rush over to help put water on the fire, while we waited for the fire department to arrive. Friends came over to help clean up the debris. We were offered an old coop, that wasn’t being used. A friend paid to replace the chicks I had lost. We were even given a rabbit hutch.”
The coop that they have now is home to an assortment of wonderful breeds, she has 6 Australorps, 6 Buff Orphingtons, 3 Rhode Island Reds. 1 Blue Cochin, 2 Silver Laced Wyandottes and 10 Gold Stars. She also has a Gold Star rooster and an Old English Game rooster.
Along with her 33 chickens, Heidi also raises ducks! She has 2 fawn and white Indian Runners, 2 Khaki Campbells and a Cayuga drake.
She raises her assortment of poultry for egg laying, garbage disposal (kitchen scraps), pest control and cheap entertainment.
This coop is 12′ x 8′ x 6.5′. The door is on the south side of the building. The shorter sides face the north and south. On the east side, we hung up rabbit cages. This way the rabbits don’t have the western sun blasting on them in the summer and my feeding routine is simplified.
About 1/3 of the coop is walled off, with a door. I used this area to raise my chicks. I love the convenience of the chicks being with the older chickens, but separate. I don’t know when the coop was built, but we got it in May.
5 Things You Love
1- It was free.
2- The back, walled off, section
3- The nesting boxes
4- It was a great place to hang the rabbit cages.
5- The size
2 Things to Change
1- I would have had the coop set down in the NW corner of the chicken yard. This would have allowed more area in the south and east parts of the chicken yard.
2- I would have put some type of new roofing on it. I plan to add some new roofing next year, but it should have been done sooner.
The Most Unique Aspect
“The compassion and love that it represents. Every time I go outside to feed my birds, I am reminded of how many people gave and cared for us.”