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Posts Tagged ‘Chicken coop’

curtains

Now, I know you are going to say that I’m one egg short of a dozen, but I recently saw, in one of my farm publications, an article about nest box curtains. The photos were adorable, and I thought, if for nothing else, my young hens needed a home improvement project.

Before embarking on this undertaking, I decided to do a little research to hopefully find a design that didn’t involve sewing. I used to sew…..somewhat. I had a basic cabinet machine that my Mom had bought when I was just a kid. Granted it was ugly, it only did straight stitching, and it took up floor space, which we were always in short supply of. But it was always there…always up and ready to go. If I needed to repair a 1 inch seam…zoom, it was done.

About 20 years ago, my sweet road warrior surprised me for Christmas with a new portable machine that could be packed up and stored out of sight and could do zigzag stitches and button holes. We were living in Italy at the time, so when we were ready to pack out and return to the states, I gave the old cabinet machine to my Pilipino housemaid. The portable machine now sits in the back of a closet, behind rolls of Christmas wrap and boxes of shoes, and gathers dust bunnies. It’s too much trouble to dig out and set up, so it hasn’t been used in years. I have forgotten how to sew. So… back to the chicken curtains.

Who knew that the idea of curtains for the chickens nest boxes has been around for decades, maybe centuries? Old time farmers used to tack up old gunny sacks over the nest box openings to provide the hens with privacy. Chickens apparently prefer to lay their eggs in a dark and secluded space, hence, a good excuse to hang some jazzy curtains.

The coop BC (Before Curtains)

The coop BC (Before Curtains)

There are lots of gorgeous coop curtains out there. Just google it, if you are interested in seeing more ideas. Many talented ladies make curtains with tie backs. Personally, that would have been my preference, but definitely involved more sewing skills than I wanted to resurrect. Then I saw some that were just straight valances….nothing more involved than sewing a rod pocket and a hem. But, it did involve digging out the dreaded machine and spending more time setting it up than the time it would take to do the whole sewing thing.

So I opted to find a readymade valance. Just by chance, I found a wonderful lady on Etsy that makes custom curtains, and she made these cute valances for me. I love the comical chicken design, and the colors were just perfect to brighten up the place.

Ready to move beck in

Ready to move beck in

I can’t say for sure whether the chickens approve, they haven’t started laying eggs yet, but it sure makes me smile while I’m scooping out chicken poop.

The Pullet Palace

The Pullet Palace

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“Yeeeowww, Yeeeeowww”.

“Bagawk, Bock, Bock, Bock, BEGAWK”.

For those uninitiated in bird speak, that translates into:
“Hellooo, who are youuuu?” (from our recently returned vagrant peacock)

“Help, helphelphelp, H-E-L-P”. (from our little flock of hens who apparently think they are being stalked by the biggest chicken hawk ever)

That was not a discussion that I wanted to hear outside my bedroom window at 7:00 this morning. A quick peak outside revealed the source of the problem. There Farina sat on top of the chicken coop, calling at the top of his lungs, and sending the terrified chickens below scurrying for cover.

Farina on coop

Since Farina, the wandering Peacock returned after a 6 month walk-about, he has been sticking really close to the barn. He can always be seen sitting on a fence rail, or showing off to the llamas. It’s like he’s thinking, ‘I lost this place once and I’m not taking any chances’.

Farina displaying

As he’s getting more comfortable with his surroundings, he’s starting to do a little exploring. Yesterday afternoon, I found him checking out our back yard, and this morning he was trying to make the acquaintance of the hens.

Take a peak in the window. See all the noses pressed against the glass? The chickens are huddled inside peering around wondering where that danged screaming eagle is.

scared chickens

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Holy Cow! Not again! For the 5th time in as many years, a bear destroyed our chicken coop, but for the first time, he actually ate two of our chickens. Our coop sits right under our bedroom window, and as these raids usually happen in the middle of the night, we have heard the rending of wood and wire and have been able to scare off the bear before he killed any of our hens. Once a couple of years ago, he actually got his teeth into one and ripped a flap of skin off under her wing, but we treated the wound with antibiotics and she recovered good as new.

Friday, we were not so fortunate. This attack occurred in the middle of the afternoon. I just happened to go downstairs and heard the chickens clucking louder than usual and went to look out the window that looks out onto the coop. I knew immediately when I saw two chickens staring in at me on the other side of the glass that things were amiss. A quick glance to the coop proved that it had been ripped open and knocked over.

A further glance beyond the destroyed coop revealed the culprit, a black bear standing on the outside of the gate. I ran out the front door yelling at him to scat. Disgruntled, he slowly ambled off up the slope and disappeared into the woods. Assessing the damage, I woefully discovered that I only had two of my four precious hens. All that remained of the other two was a small fluff of feathers.


I know that most people don’t credit chickens with a lot of smarts, and I agree that they won’t score high on an IQ test, but they do have more intelligence than most give them credit for. These two survivors somehow knew that we lived on the other side of that glass window, and they were doing their darnedest to get my attention calling “HELP, HELP, HELP” at the top of their little chicken voices.

I looked helplessly at their little home, the damage way beyond my means to repair. So I called DH to see if he could home early to do a coop reno. It would be a couple of hours before he could get home, so to protect the girls in the meantime, I carried them to the garage, and placed them in the dogs’ exercise pen.

Repairs took a little over four hours and took us well into dark. We finished up by flashlight about 10:00 at night and tucked the hens in for the evening. After the first bear attack five years ago, we installed an electric wire around the perimeter of the backyard fence. It apparently does deter the bears from coming in, because in every instance that a bear has climbed the fence, we’ve discovered that the electric fence was down. And sure enough, during a recent electrical storm, the GFI on the outlet had been popped and the fence off. I’m naturally worried that now that he has the taste for chicken, the bear will come back for more. I find that I am checking on the chickens every hour on the hour. So far, so good.

I wonder if our two remaining chickens are lonely and miss their sisters. I guess it’s time to think about getting some new chicks.

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