The Free Motion Quilting Project: Josh's Chickens, part 2

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Josh's Chickens, part 2

I'm back for part 2 in my backyard chicken series. If you've missed part one, click here for that post.

Here is my "upgraded" coop, what I like to call the chicken hangar.

Josh Day's Chicken Coop 2014

Josh Day's Chicken Sweetpea
Internal square footage, this is three or four times the size of my original setup. It's also very easy to clean as I can open one side completely and hose down the perches, interior, and rake out the bottom--which makes for the best compost you'll ever find.

Josh Day's baby chickenThe owl decoy on top serves a practical function to deter hawks, which prey on chickens--especially bantam breeds, like silkies. And speaking of a silkie...

These little birds are marvels of nature. They're the closest thing you'll get to a Tribble from the original Star Trek series. Fuzzy puffballs, their feathers have a silky feel and their skin is purple, as is their meat. The hens can also be very affectionate and
they make excellent brood mothers.

The two silkies above are both purebred silkies, but the majority of my flock is hybridized from part silkie and part Blue Ameracauna. Crossing an Ameracauna with any other breed produces a hybrid called an Easter Egger as you can get brown, cream, pink, blue, or green eggs.

Josh Day's Easter Egger chicken

The hen above is an Easter Egger, most resembling her mother, who was a pure Blue Ameracauna.

Here is her grandson, our current alpha rooster who protects the flock from predators and ushers them into the coop every night.

Josh Day's rooster

Josh Day's Chickens
I currently have twenty-nine birds at the moment, including three roosters. With the exception of the blue-laced wyandotte hen (centrally pictured at left), every single one has either been hatched under a broody hen or incubated. The wyandotte is four years or older and is a wonderful mother, having hatched and cared for the majority of the flock at some point. The wyandotte breed is also known for its broodiness.

I range the birds on a quarter acre, and I move the fence around to let the land recover seasonally so they always have fresh insects and seedlings. The only feed I give them are table scraps and about 6-10 pounds of layer feed every morning as a supplement.

I've found chickens to be great fun--much more entertaining than a parakeet or finches, which I've also kept. They're also a lot easier to keep as they do the work themselves.

The fact their eggs are edible and delicious is a very nice bonus!



  1. Josh, thanks for the news about your chickens. I have long been interested in raising them myself, since I eat eggs for breakfast every morning, love birds, and live in a forested area where the soil nutrients are all taken up by the trees. Chicken poop is my heart's desire. I keep trying to convince my husband that chickens would be a great idea, but so far, no luck. We already stretch our retirement income to feed for five cats, a rescue dog, and as many birds and deer as our 5 acres will hold. We would never kill our chickens; they would be pets. But I keep thinking with the eggs they produce, this would be a minimal investment. You've inspired me; I shall keep trying! Now, must go quilt!

  2. These are so neat! I've never heard of "Easter Eggers," so that was fun.

  3. the silkies are so cuddly looking, never seen a chicken like this and I am fascinated that your get different coloured eggs, here we just get brown and white. Love to hear the chickens around me clucking, we also has a local rooster but nasty neighbours complained about the crowing and the owner had to find a new home for him

  4. Ok, something new for the bucket list - must have chickens! You and Leah keep me busy! LOL! Seriosly, love the lists. Oh and Happy Birthday to Leah!

  5. I had not even thought of an owl to keep away hawks! I am so mad at myself now. I hatched quail this spring and they laid eggs all summer - and then a hawk found them and was freaking them out. My pen is plenty secure, but they didn't know that and were injuring themselves. Here is a picture of my pen:
    I ended up giving them away because one of them died from a head injury (she couldn't walk, kept falling over to her left) and I was worried about the rest. Now I am mad at myself for not thinking of the owl. Darnit! Well, I will keep an eye out for an owl now and hatch some more next spring I guess. Good luck with your chickens!


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