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RIP Ms. Underfoot!

Underfoot as a baby chick!

Ode to Underfoot


Our dear Underfoot

Corny, zipping to and fro'

We will miss you much!


Popping inside the chicken coop this morning to check in on the ladies my eyes immediately caught sight of something black, laying under the roost.  It was Underfoot, legs curled up under her with her head laying down to the side, eyes closed, her body cool.

My favorite chicken of the flock!  Doh!

She got her name because she was just that - underfoot all the time. She loved weaving in and out of your legs as you walked, bolting across the farm with her little legs when she saw you to say hi and check things out.  She was a Polish so her bouffant  hairdo got in the way of seeing things sometimes.  OK, most of the time.

I'll miss you Underfoot!   


Treating The Chickens....

Treating The Chickens....

Just like us humans, chickens need a little something yummy here and there as a treat!  Can you imagine life without a bit of chocolate or whatever your guilty pleasure may be?  (for me personally it's Sour Patch Kids.  YUM-O!) 

In the winter, this can take the form of heads of cabbage, hung from the roof of the chicken run - a great opportunity to play with one's food!  Watching the chickens move their heads back and forth with the rhythm of the cabbage as it swings back and forth can be a riot.  I always put one head of cabbage higher than the other to add variety, too - it's hilarious to watch chickens jump a bit to get their treats (and good exercise for them!)

The turkeys aren't as into cabbage as the chickens and they ADORE melons so I looked for a watermelon to treat them to, instead.  Holy Smokes!  $10 for a half of a small watermelon!  On second thought......  hehehe....  Not surprising given it's winter I know but I didn't think it would be that bad.  So, they were treated to a heavy dose of dried mealworms and a little scratch mixed in instead - all of which they devoured.  [the cantaloupe and honeydew available were rock hard]

Happy chickens.  Happy turkeys.  Happy me!

Buttoning Up The Chicken Run

Buttoning Up The Chicken Run

Miss Aretha takes a break from the chilly north winds today inside the coop, along with most of the other ladies!  It got cold fast!

Miss Aretha takes a break from the chilly north winds today inside the coop, along with most of the other ladies!  It got cold fast!

The ladies here at Big Ash Farm live in a fairly large coop (approx 12 x 14) with a run (approx 20 x 14) attached to the south side that keeps them safe and warm when they're not exploring outside.

 The chicken coop is original to the property (though I gutted it, insulated and refinished the inside).  We added the run before moving the girls in so they could have outside time when they can't be out about roaming the farm. (we have a very healthy and active wildlife population here who, we have learned the hard way, are very clever and quite aware of when we're home and about the property....  and when we are not ;)


The run is enclosed in quarter inch hardware cloth (dug down and flared out by a foot in each direction) and completely covered with a combinaton of metal roofing and translucent panels (so the coop stays light inside but the girls still have some shade as well).  We're not the only ones who enjoy a chicken dinner! 


In the winter we wrap the run in plastic to shelter the girls from the biting winds that come from the north and west.  We also wrap a bit of the south side as well to prevent the run from filling up with snow when we get those spring storms.  Chickens do not like to get their tootsies cold in snow!  (I never thought I'd be shovelling snow for chickens, but I do!)


This year I ended up cutting more plastic off of the roll than I had planned so I wrapped the run a bit more than usual - I didn't want to waste it.  I think it'll be good in the end, though.  They'll have an even larger portion of the run sans snow when the spring storms hit.   


The plastic I use comes in a substantial roll from home depot and is a relatively thick plastic.  It isn't the thin plastic painting drop cloth type.  While an investment initially, the roll lasts forever as it's huge and because I reuse the plastic I cut for at least a couple seasons before it has to go.  I tack it up initially with staples but then screw on strips of wood to keep it the tight against the surface.  We get some big winds here and without that wood stripping that plastic would be shredded in no time. 

Next up is the turkey run!