Don’t let the name Lazy Layers fool you. Life out here keeps us on our toes pretty much all the time.
Take, for instance, that our chickens are getting older and, unfortunately, their time of laying eggs is dwindling. I had put off getting more birds until Spring so all the Winter freezing temperatures wouldn’t hinder their health and caring for baby birds would be easier on me. Easy is good; too many other things require more work. Besides, we strive to do projects ONCE as often as possible.
Eventually we were down to five birds from the original fifteen that we got back in August 2012. I remember the year because that was the same time we got honey bees; we bought birds and bees from the same family. Still thinking like city folks at the time, it was cool meeting a family who actually raised both. Citified thinking is hard to overcome but we’re getting there.
In early spring of this year, 2018, I got twenty-four birds from our local feed store. Learning about different breeds ought to keep me busy for a while. I knew a little about Bantums, Orpingtons, and Guineas but nothing about Sex Link, Plymouth Rock, Ameraucana, Rhode Island Red, or Golden Comet.
In the past I’ve gotten birds from local breeders who posted a card on the feed store Bulletin Board. It’s been my experience that the local Bulletin Board is the BEST place to start looking for almost everything out here.
With all these birds, our lack-of-egg problem has been solved. But moreover, I’ve fallen in love with chickens all over again. Under Baby Birds you’ll find several pictures of various baby birds from first day to graduation to chicken house. Over the years, we’ve learned how how to care for baby birds relatively well. Raising them is fun as long as you pay attention to them every day. They are so cute.
Lazy Layer Lodge (aka chicken coop) has been hosted at the Sleeping Dog Ranch since November 2001. Getting the requisite farmstead livestock — chickens — was almost the FIRST thing we did. But first we needed a chicken house. Ergo, our metal shed deemed Chicken House.
After the chickens came my first two goats, then more goats. Oops, fell in love with the goats AND with the milk. Ahhhhh manna from Heaven.
We needed fences so I could get more goats; at one time we had as many as thirty-five goats with seventeen babies in one season. I will forever be grateful for breeding/raising goats but it was time to stop breeding. I got tired of sleeping in the barn during kidding season. But the main reason I quit breeding was because I had a hard time selling the goats to folks who knew about goats. IF I didn’t feel that folks knew what they were doing I wouldn’t sell them goats. The last family fooled me; disaster struck with an incredibly sad ending. That did it!!! Those were the last two goats I ever sold. The others I’ve either kept or given freely to qualified goat breeders. I digress.
After fencing in two front pastures we decided to close in the chicken yard. Because it’s a remnant of squaring off the goat areas, it’s a convoluted trapezoid of sorts with only one 90 degree corner about 30 by 45 by 15 by 10, or something like that. We like to contain the birds as much as possible because our first free range birds tended to wonder off near the woods that surround our place. Unfortunately, that’s where the predators live.
After being heart broken at losing so many birds, we decided to take other security steps. Over the years we’ve seen owls, hawks, raccoons, opossums, and an occasional skunk in the neighborhood. One night three baby raccoons were in the goat barn because is was snowing outside. I left them alone and they were gone the next morning. So cute!!!
Back to the chicken house (aka coop, aka lodge). As I mentioned earlier we added a 10′ chain link fence around the front door to keep the goats OUT of the chicken house. Goats love chicken food (pretty much any kind of food for that matter) and had not only learned how to knock over the galvanized cans we used for food storage but they learned how to knock the lids off and spread food every where.
The galvanized cans (mice eat through plastic cans) on the side of the chicken house (in the photo) were eventually moved inside the chain link fence for their safety. Since the goats never figured out how to get in, we considered that a success.
No, it isn’t your typical chicken house because we don’t have typical needs out here. Our chickens have a chicken house (the 10′ by 10′ metal shed), a chicken run (the 10′ by 10′ chain link fence), and a chicken yard (the fenced in trapezoid I mentioned earlier).
So, why are goats in the chicken area in the first place, you might ask. Well, because the yard is so oddly shaped no mower will fit into the corners but the goats eat all corners beautifully. What the chickens don’t graze, the goats do. It’s a win-win. What a deal!!!