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Update from the coop

July 21, 2015

Ok here’s a few shots of recent activity around here. And some shots of the little ones at the end, getting grow’d up.

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Meet the new swimmers!

July 16, 2015

Here’s a quick peek at the Indian Runners (3) and the Weeder Geese (3), none of which have names as of today.

 

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A few newbs?

July 11, 2015

Ever seen Weeder geese? Ya, they eat weeds, lots of weeds. Hoping they’ll start eating our weeds instead of chasing the ducks around the pen.

They’re the newest guests at the hotel de’poultry.

Here’s some shots.

First, check out this gate!

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VLUU L100, M100  / Samsung L100, M100

White Langshan silver-pencilled-hamburgh1 (1) white laced Blue Sumatra Hen black langshan Lakenvelder_reference

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Chicks they are a growin’!

July 8, 2015
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Steve has completed initial construction, we get the wagon in place. Wheels are still on the way.

Steve has completed initial construction, we get the wagon in place. Wheels are still on the way.

That's Steve...

That’s Steve…

Wheels are incoming! 42" steel rimmed stagecoach wheels with axles. That way we can move this bad boy..

Wheels are incoming! 42″ steel rimmed stagecoach wheels with axles. That way we can move this bad boy..

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Entry/Exit from Coop Wagon Train. Goes into 2nd covered run for now.

Entry/Exit from Coop Wagon Train. Goes into 2nd covered run for now.

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Steve’s latest creation? Picnic table complete with umbrella. Easy to see the alpha females now. The 2 HUGE black ones (Chibs and Jax) are Jersey Giant Roosters. Valiant is to their right.

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What is this you ask? This is the beginnings of my Cricket colony…. Ya, given the need to buy them, which entails enough, I thought I’d take a shot at raising my own. Also doing the same with mealworms. Some great online info on best practices. Ordered both batches off Amazon along with substrate and food/vermiculite and whatever else I needed. I over ordered so I could feed them now, while waiting to grow them in large numbers.

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Man Valiant is some kind of gorgeous.

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This is Chibs….

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Brownie.

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Jax

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The Frenchies with some of the elders.

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The three young Indian Runners, who have recently moved outside, with their own 'pond' and 'home'

The three young Indian Runners, who have recently moved outside, with their own ‘pond’ and ‘home’

Some of the young ones in pen #2, including the 4 newbs just outside (2 Salmon Faverolles and 2 Red laced Blue Wyandottes)

Some of the young ones in pen #2, including the 4 newbs just outside (2 Salmon Faverolles and 2 Red laced Blue Wyandottes)

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The FINAL (and I mean FINAL!) additions to Chez Schilling. 16 Rare to Ultra rare 3 day old chicks from McMurray Hatchery. I know 2 of them are Polish, but I have not a CLUE as to the rest of them as far as breeds go! Any thoughts?

The FINAL (and I mean FINAL!) additions to Chez Schilling. 16 Rare to Ultra rare 3 day old chicks from McMurray Hatchery. I know 2 of them are Polish, but I have not a CLUE as to the rest of them as far as breeds go! Any thoughts?

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Updates from the coop!

June 30, 2015
They LOVE watermelon.

They LOVE watermelon.

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They LOVE watermelon.

They LOVE watermelon.

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Once they are old enough I will work the Barred Rocks, Easter Eggers and a couple of the other full sized ones in with the big kids. We are creating a 2nd home for the Bantams, and Polish as well as the rest of the cresteds since they are ALL picked on mercilessly. I'll let them roam and play during the day and they can sleep in separate coops. What it will also likely do is allow me to split up roosters and hens, giving each about 12-14 ladies (what a life!)

Once they are old enough I will work the Barred Rocks, Easter Eggers and a couple of the other full sized ones in with the big kids. We are creating a 2nd home for the Bantams, and Polish as well as the rest of the cresteds since they are ALL picked on mercilessly. I’ll let them roam and play during the day and they can sleep in separate coops. What it will also likely do is allow me to split up roosters and hens, giving each about 12-14 ladies (what a life!)

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The babies are starting to feather up

The babies are starting to feather up

Chibbs

Chibbs

RIR or Buckeye?

RIR or Buckeye?

Chessy, one of Valiants ladies and in the top 4-5 of the younger pecking order, feels a strong desire to sit ANYWHERE but where I'd like her too. At least she's point her pooper AWAY from the inside of the food.

Chessy, one of Valiants ladies and in the top 4-5 of the younger pecking order, feels a strong desire to sit ANYWHERE but where I’d like her too. At least she’s point her pooper AWAY from the inside of the food.

A bantam Buff Brahma, 1 of 5.

A bantam Buff Brahma, 1 of 5.

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Silvia is one of Jax's girls btw.

Silvia is one of Jax’s girls btw.

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I just think he's so damn pretty.

I just think he’s so damn pretty.

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Clearly working the sun....

Clearly working the sun….

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Look at that, how pretty is that for a boy.

Look at that, how pretty is that for a boy.

There are three dark brahmas, all three look alike for the most part and all three are wicked friendly. B, my Buddy, is the one with the big white patch on her chest, the other 2 are more spotted.

There are three dark brahmas, all three look alike for the most part and all three are wicked friendly. B, my Buddy, is the one with the big white patch on her chest, the other 2 are more spotted.

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Both Jax and Chibbs have an awesome iridescent green hue on their hackles and tails.

Both Jax and Chibbs have an awesome iridescent green hue on their hackles and tails.

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Ok, Buckeye or RIR?

Ok, Buckeye or RIR?

One of the rescues.

One of the rescues.

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Brenna taking relaxing to a whole new level.

Brenna taking relaxing to a whole new level.

See the big black one in the back? I have 2 black Jersey Giants, and this is #2. Jax is the other, a Rooster, and this one? This one is now Chibbs, both of my JG's are boys.

See the big black one in the back? I have 2 black Jersey Giants, and this is #2. Jax is the other, a Rooster, and this one? This one is now Chibbs, both of my JG’s are boys.

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Now making them uncomfortable

Now making them uncomfortable

The big dude on the left is Jax, Rooster #2, clearly interested in the ladies on the beach....

The big dude on the left is Jax, Rooster #2, clearly interested in the ladies on the beach….

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Wee Wee and Bon Jour

Wee Wee and Bon Jour

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An Australorp, don't have a name for her yet.

An Australorp, don’t have a name for her yet.

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Valiant, one of THREE, yes THREE Roosters I am now aware of.

Valiant, one of THREE, yes THREE Roosters I am now aware of.

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Silivia, the Silver Laced Wyandotte

Silivia, the Silver Laced Wyandotte

Brownie, a Partridge Cochin. Gotta keep her cool this summer, gonna be tough with those boots..

Brownie, a Partridge Cochin. Gotta keep her cool this summer, gonna be tough with those boots..

Brenna, a Buff Orpington

Brenna, a Buff Orpington

June 25th update! Some new members of the clan!

June 25, 2015
Indian Runner Ducks.

And here we have the 3 newest young’ins…

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Indian Runner Ducks

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Jax is the HUGE Jersey Giant on the left. Making time with some of Valiants ladies....

Jax is the HUGE Jersey Giant on the left. Making time with some of Valiants ladies….

High steppin'

High steppin’

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Couple of shots of Chessy, no part of their body they can't get that beak too.....

Couple of shots of Chessy, no part of their body they can’t get that beak too…..

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Brenna

Brenna

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Shonda has a few new lady friends. They all cackle....

Shonda has a few new lady friends. They all cackle….

Notice the proportion of food in the feeder to on the ground? No more food in there for them.

Notice the proportion of food in the feeder to on the ground? No more food in there for them.

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Valiant hanging out with part of his harem.

Valiant hanging out with part of his harem.

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One of the new youngsters..

One of the new youngsters..

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Looming in the background...

Looming in the background…

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Nap time.

Nap time.

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Love these guys.

Love these guys.

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1 of the 5 rescues, and bosses now (they are much older than my girls). I call her BR, most of the young ones call her much worse, she's a bully.

1 of the 5 rescues, and bosses now (they are much older than my girls). I call her BR, most of the young ones call her much worse, she’s a bully.

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This is B, my buddy. She's the dark brahma with the big white chest

This is B, my buddy. She’s the dark brahma with the big white chest

“qui moi” which is French for “Who me?”

He's a strutter.

He’s a strutter.

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Valiant, 1 of the 2 boys in the gang (that we know of)

Valiant, 1 of the 2 boys in the gang (that we know of)

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Silvia

Silvia

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Ok how it came to be…

June 19, 2015

Once Shonda had cleared her head, thought about it, I was already about 20 chickens and months into this, in my head. I have read, and continue to, every ounce I can get on this. I don’t have any other way. I learn like I was coached. I’ll take it all in, use what feels right and get the ideas from the smartest folks.

To date I’ve been incredibly lucky.

So here’s the homestead as of today.

This is "Oui-Oui" one of three Mille fleur d'uccle hens. They're Bantams. It's pronounced "Mill-Lee Flure Dew Clay". Mille fleur, as I understand it, means "Thousand Flowers" in French

This is “Oui-Oui” one of three Mille fleur d’uccle hens. They’re Bantams. It’s pronounced “Mill-Lee Flure Dew Clay”. Mille fleur, as I understand it, means “Thousand Flowers” in French

They will grow up looking like this. Stunning. They don't acquire these colors until after their first molt I am told.

They will grow up looking like this. Stunning. They don’t acquire these colors until after their first molt I am told.

Coop

This is the coop the first night the ladies slept outside. The only “outside” they had at this point was the enclosed run (lit up).

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So this is looking towards that run that is lit up, from inside the coop. Heated Roosts were built over the pop door which was set on a 5am 9pm timer. I had read about a ‘drop board’ and it seemed a no brainer. It’s the white board beneath the roosts with the cutout for the pop door. An oil based primer over top stops any rot, and it takes like 5 minutes to clean their poo off every day. And my Lord they poo.

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This is the opposite side of the pop door. This is the first day of their lives they were outside. They were tentative (and very young) coming out, but went berserk when they realized it was safe. Primitive wire up at that point for protection.

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This is a young “B” (stands for Buddy) next to one of the initial waterers I put inside. She’s a Dark Brahma, of which there are 3.

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The BIG white one is “Ellie” and she likes the ladies. They don’t seem to mind her much, and have gotten better as they have gotten a bit older. Valiant, one of the roosters, isn’t a real fan yet. That’s “Pood”, one of the Polish that died in the first incident with Georgia.

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This is a very young “Brownie” (so named for stud Medfield Hockey Player Lindsay Brown). She’s a Brown Cochin, and will basically have brown Uggs for life… She’s one of the top 4-5 ladies in the hierarchy right now.

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Early shot of the ladies getting used to roosting.

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Ellie and Pood were actually funny together, Pood liked to follow her around, I wonder if she thought Ells was her mom? They sure as hell looked alike.

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This is a VERY young Valiant, one of the two boys I accidently acquired in my batch. He’s grown so fast, and is absolutely beautiful now. I hope like hell he tries to ‘court’ Ellie someday…

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Frick was one of two Dark Brahmas. Frack was one of the casualties from the 1st incident. She’ll have a low cut version of Uggs when she grows up.

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This is a later shot, after the 1st run of fencing was posted and an outside run was enclosed for them to run around.

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Indoor run with waterers and a feeder that has since been replaced. The girls would go INSIDE the feeder and scratch all the food onto the ground……

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This is the shed, coop and run are to the left of this and our initial home shed is back right.

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This is looking INTO the coop from the enclosed run outside the door.

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It was too hot, or really too humid. I tried a de-humidifier for a bit but it was way too much. Dirty as all get out each day and the girls tried sleeping all over it. Early feeder, early waterer on a wagon tire.

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This is where the ladies slept before they got comfortable with the initial roosts.

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Brownie is sitting in the leaves, her camo is clearly big league. The Polish eating was “Ella”, she was a casualty of the 1st accident.

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The coop and run(s) are built at the back of our yard. Behind this is a very large bog/marsh, on conservatory land. This ENORMOUS compost pile is all the underbrush/growth that was cleared to open up the land for the ladies. It’s basically an enormous buffet line for them. Whenever I walk around it and pull out limbs they follow me like a pied piper, knowing every limb turned over is a protein feast of bugs, worms etc.

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Looking in the same direction outside the front gate. Entry door is open just off to the right.

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This is from the pathway looking in. Coop is just out of the photo to the right. Red tub is my initial attempt at a compost bin.

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These? These are 2 of 7 rescues I took in a bit ago. They’re about 8 months to a year old (as my girls are about 4-5 months old (the oldest). I took them in when their owner was told he could not have chickens in his new home in NH, the day of the move. They’re a mix, and they’re great. They lay eggs. 2 of them are gone, these 2 actually, as they took off and didn’t return.

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This is an updated shot of the entry. Gone are the roosts on the far short wall. Replaced with 3 roosts that run the length of the coop above a drop board. Somehow I didn’t see the short wall roosts being able to handle the amount of ladies I may end up with. Shonda won’t read this so please keep that between us…. Homemade waterer in the background, hanging feeder behind “Bonjour”.

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Chez Schilling undergoing renovations. I needed to expand the contained run. The initial one was too small for them and given that the Bantams were picked on by everyone I needed more room for them to spread out. The ladies loved to help, or poop on my tools. This is a very early shot.

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Silvia, a Silver Laced Wyandotte, munches on cut grass I have thrown into the run once a week.

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From inside the new run through the initial one to the shed. Door connecting these two to allow me to split them up if need be (and there’s now a need, but I’ll get to that)

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I’m not sure how many of the girls know Georgia did what she did, but it’s now at the point where they are openly taunting her…..

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Here’s a look soon after the 1st remodel. The waterer in the back is a pretty cool idea I saw. 5 gallon paint bucket, 5 gallon water bottle. Take a block of wood about 4-6 inches high (untreated) and saw cuts and zig zags all along the top. Cut two “windows’ in the bucket, on opposite sides. Pop a hole in the top of the water bottle, place the wood at the bottom of the bucket, so that top of it is just below the ‘window’, with the side with the cuts in it facing up. Turn the bottle over and place it on top of the block. The cap should still be on, but with a hole. The water will drain out, up to the bottom of the window, and stay there as they drink. Insanely cool idea. Still tweaking but I love it.

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Looking out the front door. Two circulating fans to keep the air moving up top, two bags of herbs to keep pests out and smell in (it smells nice inside honestly). Early version of the electrical, since adjusted and cleaned up a bit.

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How the pop door looks now with the roosts moved. Nesting box 1, so named the “Lead off” box, is where the 5 layers all started to lay their eggs. 2 have now moved into the 2 hole…

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The girls “pool” to bathe in. 1st edition. About the time I lug wagon 5 of sand in, Shonda says “why don’t you just used the cinder blocks as a frame and fill that…….

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So…….

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Started to get a bit creative. The “holes’ left open now house different plant life the ladies are either protected against eating, or they don’t seem to ‘eat’.

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Willow actually loved the sand pile their sand came from….

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The waterer

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The herbs I bought from the Chicken Chick.

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This is Frahnsay……

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“B” with one of her sisters. By far the friendliest breed I’ve gotten to date.

Georgia

Georgia hates the fencing now in place.

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Rufus is deaf and too old to care, he just likes to look at them most times.

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Brownie

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Recent shot of Valiant, he has turned out to be a gorgeous one. Jax is the other male, he’s a Jersey Giant, and he is huge. Valiant is the alpha male as of today. Though they did get after it a bit yesterday……

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“BR” laying or sitting. She is one of the 5 rescues left. She’s a Barred Rock, or Barred Plymouth Rock.

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Another tip from Kathy, the Chicken Chick. With sand as my foundation in the coop and run, I can clean any poop up with this.

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The three mademoiselles.

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I’ll say it one more time. Everything, from location to ‘stuff’, screams bugs, flies, mosquitoes. Swampy marsh, humid as hell, grass, crap, compost bin and a lot of other stuff. These vanilla trees, copiously stationed, are magic. Honest to goodness I open my compost bin (with 2 hanging inside off the lid, and I have not had a SINGLE fly come out or in. I have NONE inside the coop, none. I have NONE flying around. Mosquito’s? Nope. I also have grown a few carnivorous plants.

You better believe it!

You better believe it!

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Still hoping for a freak event….

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Valiant pooping on Steve’s tool and acting disinterested in the young lady to his right

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Love this thing. Gives me high temp, humidity over past 36 hours. Allows me to adjust if need be, windows, fans etc.

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Another Chicken Chick recommendation. The corner feeder. PVC pip held into corner trough with ties, back board secured to board outside fencing

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Inside of the run addition with newest and last version of waterer. I’ll keep troughs to allow them to guzzle, but the nipple waterers are magic. No leaking, and I had to do NOTHING for them to know how to drink. Once one did it, the rest followed suit. I have these hanging all over as the summer heat moves in.

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Inside 1st run

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Outside during initial remodel

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Inside 1st run now. 2 waterers, corner feeder and new, last version, hanging feeder.

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The two runs in development

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Another cool Idea I stole after seeing this setup at Home Depot

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They replaced this

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B is checking out the new compost bin, now outside the run but easily accessible for dispensing waste into. Hole in lower back side allows me to remove compost at the bottom for flowers and plants.

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French ladies sunning… Umbrella was originally for cover but they seem to follow the sun around the run, always liking to lay and play in it. So the umbrella is now being used, and will be used all year, to keep the sand in the “pool” dry.

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Silivia with the single greatest mosquito repellent ever. All natural, smells awesome and sold at the Medfield hardware store. Love this stuff.

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Gretchens husband Steve, built this for Shonda……

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Next phase????

Yes, that just happened....

Yes, that just happened….

Next up I’ll let you meet the 24 ladies who will settle in Tombstone ahead of the youngins’ coming up behind.

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