New Digs

January 10, 2010

The three chicks are excited. I’m finally going to start writing about them again. They love being the center of attention. They felt rather left out this fall when life got too busy for me to continue this blog. Not that I really forgot about them. In fact, one of the things that kept me so busy was I was on deadline to finish my new cookbook Chicken and Eggs for Chronicle Publishing, a book that will include stories about the girls plus recipes inspired by them. More about the book in subsequent posts. In addition to writing, cooking and editing recipes for the book, I did a cross country tour teaching baking classes in ten cities plus my regular work for the Cooking Club magazine. So, it was a hold-your-breath-and-try-to-get-it-all-done few months, and something had to give.

In spite of their complaining, the girls fared well during this time. Marty, the former “Chickens? No way!” guy took care of them. Although he probably wouldn’t admit it, he now fusses over the chicks almost as much as I do. The big news is that the chicks moved into a new coop right before the holidays. Marty oversaw the construction of the coop while I was away plus built a weatherproof run for them.

The Prebuilt Walls Went up Quickly

Almost Done

The New Pleasure Palace

Inside the New Run

The 6×6′ space is super-insulated from top to bottom, has infrared heaters, electricity, three huge windows and lots of space. The floor and 3/4 of the way up the walls are lined with FRP material, fiberglass-reinforced plastic, also called glassboard, the type of material used in bathrooms and shower stalls, making it waterproof and extremely easy to clean (my biggest concern after being spoiled by the Eglu). I have removable plastic bins under the roosting bars for easy daily removal of droppings and the chicks have enough room to actually move around and stretch their wings.

Girls with Temporary Roost
(This spring they’ll get a more permanent roost.)

The girls are in heaven. Want proof? They laid 15 eggs last week! That’s right, in January when the weather was a frigid -15ºF at night and 0ºF for a daytime high! Plus, they haven’t had to spend a night inside the house with us yet (maybe that should read that we haven’t had to spend a night inside the house with them). We’re all thrilled.

Results from the New Coop

Their smaller Eglu coop, which I still love, will continue to be used. We plan to take it to our lake cabin and use it as their summer home so they can accompany us to the lake when we go for several days. Crazy? Hey, we take our cats with us so why not the chickens too? Of course, now that they’ve moved up to the Pleasure Palace, who knows if they’ll be willing to rough it at the lake.

6 Responses to “New Digs”

  1. January 11, 2010 at 10:22 pm, Anonymous said:

    Hey, Janice; great to see the blog update! The new coop looks beautiful; nothing beats new construction, right?


  2. January 12, 2010 at 8:25 am, Janice said:

    That's for sure!


  3. January 12, 2010 at 9:44 am, Anonymous said:

    That coop could rent for $1200 a month in New York and parts of NJ! It's beautiful. I guess that what happens when you have an emprty nest. Build a new nest!

    Exciting news about your book. I can't wait to have it on my cookbook shelf!

    Welcome back girls,

    Cousin Tim


  4. January 12, 2010 at 10:51 am, Janice said:

    Ha! I may have to resort to renting their coop out — the girls are not the cheap hobby I thought they'd be! I'm afraid to add up what each egg costs me…..


  5. January 27, 2012 at 2:28 pm, Ruth said:

    Hi, Just found your blog. Your coop is gorgeous! Could you share (I looked around but couldn’t find anything explaining) what plans or kit you used — or if you created this, if you would share them? I just sketched out almost exactly what you have but don’t know where to find it.
    Thank you!


  6. January 27, 2012 at 4:24 pm, admin said:

    Hi Ruth,
    The coop is a 6′x6′ garden shed by Tuff Shed. We added 2 windows and the window in the door. We also had them add the small chicken door and 2 vents. Because of all the windows, we really didn’t need the extra vents and if I did it over again I would add only one vent that I could open and close. We had it insulated on the inside including the floor, wiring added and then had FRP panels placed over everything. It’s been very easy to keep clean and the girls love it. I only have 4 chicken in it but it could really hold several more. We built an attached run ourselves and have since added a fiberglass slanted roof to it I have also now added a permanent 2×4 roosting area inside for the girls and eliminated the concrete blocks. Please let me know if you have any more questions.


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