Little things matter. Along the way you discover they weren't so little after all.

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Ferdinand with a treat she found.

Ferdinand with a treat she found.

Our white chicken disappeared.

We closed the coop later in the evening when it was already dark and we assumed they were all inside. (They naturally go into the coop as night approaches.) I opened the coop the next morning and went about my day.

The chickens stick together most of the time but when one needs to lay an egg, she goes back to the coop by herself for a bit then rejoins the “flock” when she’s done.

All of that to say, I didn’t notice that she was gone until many hours had passed.

Our chickens are not our pets. They do not have names. We like them but we do not love them. They are not part of the family.

But…

The white chicken was a cheeky hen who had too much personality to NOT earn a name,

So my husband and I called her Ferdinand (yes I know it’s a male name) after the mischievous duck from the movie Babe. It fit her.

In honor of Ferdinand, I offer this short poem.

Where’d You Go?

Your tail feathers cut a line through the air, stiff and sharp.

Ferdinand, where’d you go?

Rather than peck at your food or mill around with the ladies,

you snuck out through the nesting box,

anxious to begin your day.

Bright eyes, inquisitive with unspoken questions,

you cock your head,

bemused to find we won’t let you in the front door

even though you wait patiently.

You run toward me, skirts swept up, feathery petticoats charging up the hill,

your gaggle close behind

for the promise of

bread scraps, leftover oatmeal, limp lettuce.

Stark contrast of white against jaunty red comb,

You stand out amongst your more camouflaged friends

like a white-blond in a room of brunettes.

I like to think you took yourself on a road trip,

got cabin fever and went to visit some ducks across the pond.

Maybe you’ll show up at our door like no time passed,

tiny suitcase next to you and a grin on your beak.


Since I’m sure you’ve been dying to know if I’ve been forcing the chickens to continue living in the cupboard on the back of my garage, I’m here to set you at ease, Dear Reader. My wonderful husband of almost 13 years has constructed a chicken coop to beat all chicken coops, and he did it without a kit or set of plans. Look, and be amazed…

We acquired a used frame, added the nesting box area and it immediately started to look like a rough version of a coop.

Using boards and wood we found lying around, he closed in the sides. We happened to have old cedar shakes in the attic, and they worked great as shingles and would eventually become the siding as well. He used the bottom tray of a dog kennel for the floor (underneath the tray is wire so nothing can sneak inside). It’s coming along!

We don’t know why, but there were boards in the ground that formed a square. This is a big reason why we chose this spot — it is shady and we could use the square for the chicken run instead of having to sink boards or wire into the ground ourselves. A real timesaver (critters who like to eat chickens can dig under a wire edge if it isn’t sunk into the ground quite a ways). We usually let the chickens run around wherever they want, but if we are going out of town, it is nice to have a safe spot they can be outside. I read that chickens won’t just wander off once they know where their food and water is, and that has proven to be true.

This one was taken with my phone after the lens fell off my camera. The final product!

We used cabinet doors we had in the basement. Overall, it costs us around $100 in materials and a couple weeks of working on the project after work. I did nothing except offer moral support and the occasional glass of water– my wonderful husband did it all himself. It has enough room for five chickens.

He did a fantastic job and I love the way it turned out. It’s a little bit rustic, and I love the way we used things we had available around our place. It is both practical and attractive, and he did it all free hand. He’s amazing. The chickens love it too, and have settled right in.

There you have it. Do you have chicken experience? How did it go? Tried building something yourself? How did it turn out? I’d love to hear from you. Until next time, happy summer adventures to you!



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