Quite often, when I’m speaking with someone I’m not too familiar with, and I tell them that we have 48 or so (I can’t remember the last count, and it’s really tough to count moving objects) laying hens, one rooster, and one awesome bus-turned-chicken-coop, I get a puzzled look. It’s actually quite comical. It’s the look that says, “I’m not sure if I believe you,” combined with, “You must be crazy,” with, “A BUS???”
That’s when I wish I had pictures to show them.
So, in the spirit of showing the world that yes, we’ve got a whole brood of hens, and no, we’re not crazy, and yes, they live in a bus, I present you the grand tour of our coop and chicken run.
You can point and laugh, but at the end of the day, I’ve got a tray full of fresh, really, really, really good eggs that can’t be bought at the store (but you can buy them from us for $3 per dozen!!).
Here is what the run and coop/bus look like from the house. I would love to have the hens run free and wild, but we have a feisty foxy thing that loves to feast on fresh, warm chicken meat. With feathers. And leave a gory mess. Last spring, this demon possessed foxy thing killed 26 out of our 30 hens in the span of a month. I almost gave up farming right then and there. Almost.
Anyhoo, that summer, hubby and I fortified the chicken run so it looks like something out of the set of the Great Escape. That’ll teach you, foxy thing!!! The hens love their run, and although at one time it was lush with vegetation, it is nothing but a dustbowl now. That’s what hens do, unfortunately. Hubby is contemplating partitioning off sections of the run so the soil can rest a bit from the hens’ constant scratching and dust bathing. He claims that’s at the bottom of his to-do list, though. So, for now, they have their dusty run.
In the first picture above, you can see one of our three turkens. See that really ugly hen with no hair on her neck? Yes, that’s a chicken, not a turkey. She looks like a bad breeding experiment, huh? Surprisingly, turkens are winter hardy even though they lack feathers in places. And they’re really good egg layers, too!
We have repurposed an old picnic bench for the hens to get some shade and also to duck under if there are mightier birds flying around. They hang out under there a lot. The third picture above shows the mighty rooster and behind the fence, the green grass that’s “on the other side of the fence.” Hahahah, see??? It IS greener out there, ladies!! Hahahaha.
Err, sorry. Back to the tour.
The ladies have access to the bus via this handy dandy ramp. It’s the monkey bars off a swing set slide thing that my inlaws used to have at their place. Hubby just added a piece of plywood underneath. The hens come in and out of their bus coop through the back “emergency exit” door. Hubby also took off the small glass window thing off the door. We cut up some old jeans to make a bit of a curtain for them and to keep some of the heat in for when the wind rips through here in the winter.
Stay tuned for the second part of this tour. In the next post, I will tour the inside of the coop. I know you guys won’t sleep until then… 🙂
In the meantime, if you’d like to purchase some eggs from us (and you live in Helena, Montana), please fill out this handy dandy form.