We've been thinking for awhile about adding chickens to our home. We've read countless articles and a few books on the topic and finally decided that the best way to figure this out was just to dive in. We were able to find a local guy who builds these great chicken tractors. John did do some work on it to improve its design a bit. He added the white-framed door in the chicken wire, which allows us access to the girls while they are out of the house. Also, he added the white door at the entrance to the house. It's on a pulley so that we can open and close it from the outside. Not pictured, on the back of the house are two nesting boxes that we can access from outside. So far, it seems to be working great. We like the idea of the tractor because it is on wheels and can be moved to fresh ground every day or so, so that the hens always have fresh ground to peck and fertilize.
We bought our 8 hens from a local lady who got them as chicks in the spring. They've been free-range on her farm since then. They should be approaching laying age, so we are eagerly awaiting our first eggs!
We have 8 hens in all, 2 each of 4 different breeds. The red one above is a Rhode Island Red.
The grayish hen on the left is an Araucana (she will lay green eggs). The black one is an Australorp. Her feathers have a blue sheen to them in the sun that is really very pretty.
This is a Plymouth / Barred Rock. It is definitely my favorite. I think they look like the quintessential chicken.
We have really enjoyed getting to know the girls. With all their pecking and scratching and roosting and eating and dust bathing, they are definitely entertaining to watch. They are actually a lot quieter than I expected them to be. The only time they've really gotten to clucking was when Aslan (our outdoor cat) was examining the coop. The kids are really enjoying the new additions. They're eager to put on their rubber boots in the morning and let the girls out of the house. We are definitely enjoying this new endeavor!