Introducing the Yellow Barn Poultry Co.

The Ladies of the Yellow Barn Poultry Co.

The Ladies of the Yellow Barn Poultry Co.  They take their names from four of my favorite female authors:  Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath and Gertrude Chandler Warner.

Today, we got chickens.  Four lovely ladies.  Mary-Hall says that they have “won the chicken-life lottery.”  I think she’s right.  But I didn’t decide to become mother-hen to these feathered friends overnight.  It’s been a process.

I have wanted chickens for a while now…like since highschool.  While my parents put up with an endless parade of pets over the years including snakes, gerbils, newts, fish, turtles, a baby possum, dogs, cats, hermit crabs, rats, mice, and who knows what else, they drew the line at raising chickens and suggested that I judge poultry instead…which I did through my local 4H club.  Yeah.  You read that right. (If you’re wondering what in the world that entails, you can check out the judging handbook for Mississippi here.)  We did have 4 guinea hens for a while…my mother’s last-ditch effort at controlling the resilient tick population that ruled our Texas property…but their loud squawking quickly earned them a one-way ticket to a friends farm where they could squawk to their hearts content without annoying the entire neighborhood.

Since becoming an adult and a homeowner, I’ve been trying to jump on the Urban Homesteading bandwagon and have conducted a few, mostly unsuccessful, ventures into backyard farming over the past 3 years.  We’ve had two gardens be destroyed by squash-eating bugs and o’possums with a fondness for tomatoes, and a brief dalliance with composting-that-never-turned-into-compost.  But this hasn’t stopped me from dreaming of a day when I would somehow grow/raise my own food and be all kinds of eco-friendly.  Keith was on-board with the eco-friendly part of it all, but wasn’t so sure about the chickens.  At least not for a while.  But this past Valentine’s day I came home from an event to find the following gift waiting for me on the kitchen counter.

Valentine's gift from Keith that started it all.  That man knows how to love me for sure!

Valentine’s gift from Keith that started it all. That man knows how to love me for sure!

Yes.  He’d come around and bought me the coop in the photo as a gift.  The ready-to-assemble kit came in  the mail about 2 weeks later and we set it up in the backyard and admired it.  And then decided a few days afterward that it was small.  Like really small.  Like really too small for what we had in mind. If we were going to do this…we were going to do it big.  {Side Note: the first coop we bought can be purchased here. We were really pleased with it and would highly recommend it if you’re looking for something to house 1 to 3 chickens or if you didn’t want to have to build anything yourself as the assembly was super easy and only took about 20 minutes.  We also love the entire MyPetChicken.com website…it’s a fantastic source for all things chicken!]  So we posted the awesome-but-small coop on Craigslist and found a home for it which was great…but now we were back to square one…coop-less.

The research began.  We looked at larger ready-to-assemble-coop kits.  We looked on Craigslist at used coops.  We browsed websites of several local folks who make and sell coops.  We brainstormed about how to create our own coop.  And then Keith found The Garden Coop online and we knew we’d found our coop.  We purchased the downloadable PDF construction plans from the website and took on our first major construction project ever.  And when I say “we” I mostly mean Keith who admittedly did all the hard stuff.  My claim to fame in the process was pulling apart old shipping pallets to create the siding for the henhouse portion of the coop.  And a few other things.  But mostly, Keith was the construction guy.

Keith inspects the doorway of the coop during construction.

Keith inspects the doorway of the coop during construction.

{Side Note: If you are interested in any construction tips on The Garden Coop, feel free to ask in the comment section and I’ll be happy to elaborate on our experience.  We worked on our coop off and on for about a month including all the finishing touches and landscaping, and found the plans to be excellent and the tips/experiences on their website helpful as well.  We are thrilled with our coop choice!  I can also answer questions about keeping chickens in Nashville if you have any!}

After much work…..we are super proud of our end product.  We wanted something that was critter-proof, chicken-friendly and yes, nice looking and I think our coop fills the bill.  I even embellished with some hanging flower baskets, an awesome hen-house sign from the Smith & Hawken collection at Target, and a small garden of lavender and Kentucky Pole Beans.

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Our version of The Garden Coop. I’m hanging out inside with the girls helping them get acclimated. We used new construction materials, but “up-cycled” old shipping pallets for hen house siding and bricks from our home renovation to build a path.

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My “Garden Coop Garden.” The plants are lavender and each wooden stake marks where I have planted pole beans….as the beans grow, they climb up the wire mesh walls of the coop.

Today we made the trip out to Poultry Hollow farm to pick out our chickens!  They are an awesome farm only about an hour from Nashville.  I’d done some homework on what breeds to get (we wanted nice chickens that lay lots of eggs) and in the end we settled on a Golden Comet (Louisa), New Hampshire Red (Jane), Black Australorpe (Sylvia) and “Production Red” (New Hampshire Red/Rhode Island Red cross-breed) (Gertrude).  We brought our new friends home and they spent the afternoon getting settled in to their new surroundings.  They seem to like the place, but little Louisa hasn’t quite figured out the whole going-up-the-ramp bit yet.  She’s about 3 weeks younger than the other girls so I’m sure as she gets bigger, she’ll get the hang of it.

Louisa and Me.  She's the baby of the flock and such a sweetie.

Louisa and Me. She’s the baby of the flock and such a sweetie.

She's got Keith wrapped around her little finger already too.

She’s got Keith wrapped around her little finger already too.

Maybe you’ve noticed already that I’ve added a “Chickens” category to the blog, which of course means that yes, you’ll be hearing lots more about our little ladies as they grow up.  And who knows.  Maybe Mary-Hall will even end up with a flock of her own to occupy all that land that comes with that new house she’s buying.  That would be egg-cellent.

Update!!!

Thanks so much to UCAN (The Urban Chicken Advocates of Nashville) for featuring this blog on their Facebook Page!   Also….we’ve done some landscaping since these photos were taken!  See the updated photos below!!!

an updated shot of the coop with it's completed landscaping and rainbarrel in the background.  You can also see the gutter that Keith hung!

an updated shot of the coop with it’s completed landscaping and rain barrel in the background. You can also see the gutter that Keith hung!

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beans are sprouting!!!

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New landscaping!

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About bethanybordeaux

I fiddle around a bit.

11 responses to “Introducing the Yellow Barn Poultry Co.”

  1. naturalpfg says :

    Awesome coop guys!

    • bethanybordeaux says :

      Thanks so much for stopping by and for your kind words! We had so much fun building it and are thrilled that our ladies seem to be enjoying it too! And I will totally be heading to your blog often now to figure out ways to keep them happy and healthy! I love your page! Keep it up!

  2. Mary-Hall says :

    Love their names. Can’t wait to meet the ladies!! I’m so excited about this new blog dimension, I can’t stand it.

    • bethanybordeaux says :

      I can’t wait for you to meet them either…or to meet yours if/when they arrive on the scene!! And yes. Love the blog fodder I will have from them. 🙂

  3. Blake Moody says :

    Bethany, Keith may not have told you but I have hired him to build a screened in porch in our back yard. Not for chickens though, for humans.

    • bethanybordeaux says :

      Haha. That would be amazing. Maybe we can have the Yellow Barn Construction Co. as well! You’ll have to bring your girls over to meet our girls soon!

  4. Anonymous says :

    Momma Daniel here – I’m so glad to hear that Sylvia, Jane, and Gertrude have taken Louisa under their wings, since she’s the baby. All I can say is that Keith gets the indulgent-husband-of-the-year award in my book!
    By the way, Keith looks slightly mesmerized by Louisa (reminds me of the serene expression on Spock’s face as he stroked a tribble). Have fun with your new feathered friends.

    • bethanybordeaux says :

      Yes! They are settling in nicely although they haven’t quite taken full advantage of how awesome their new habitat is yet. They will figure it out soon I’m sure as they grow up and figure it all out. Keith gets the husband of the year award for many reasons…and he totally Googled “Trouble with Tribbles” the other night as he had no idea what you were talking about. We got a good laugh over it. Can’t wait for you to meet the girls!

  5. Kenji Jones says :

    We got “Our Girls” from the same place -they are thriving well and happy and LAYING! LOL Pouktry Hollow was very helpful for us and friendly . . . We love your blogspot also!

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