Spa Day for Piper

Silkies are arguably the cutest and friendliest chickens around. Unlike most chickens, their feathers are so soft and fluffy that they resemble Muppets more than chickens. Throw in some extra toes, black skin, and electric blue earlobes and you’re starting to get the picture.

Thing is, all that floof attracts tons of dirt and worse. Worse meaning poop hanging off their backside in a most unattractive fashion. A good healthy diet helps keep pasty butt at bay, but every so often you gotta get in there and do the ugly side of animal husbandry. A nice soak in warm water really helps break that poop up as well as keep the chickens calm and cozy.

After a good soak and lather you have your self an ugly looking drowned rat kinda chicken. A soaked silkie means a cold silkie once the sun sets. Many can get sick this way, so it’s important to either do this in the morning so they have time to dry or give them a little spa treatment with a blow dryer. Just be careful they don’t get over-heated when doing so!

I wanted to share this little video with you all so you can see how much Piper adores the spa days here at the Mind Your Dirt Luxury Spa Treatment Super Center and Poof Emporium. So here it is…

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Fancy New Chicken Run: Phase Beta


Almost a year ago to the day, I posted about my designs for a new and improved chicken run for my girls. One that would be the envy of all the world’s fowl. In case you missed it last April, here’s the link…

Fancy New Chicken Run: Phase Alpha

Well, a year later and I was still too swamped to make the time to finish this project. If I was being a responsible adult that is. I decided that a life focused on making ends meet isn’t enough and quickly developed a “fuck it” attitude and went and got myself some lumber and cement.

Something I should say before we even get started here is that this chicken run is by NO MEANS predator proof. Using chicken wire as a barrier is useless with raccoons, skunks and foxes as they can just tear through it like Kleenex if they’re hungry enough. Hardware cloth or steel fencing is what should be used in areas where there are predators about. Also, raccoons can open any latch that man has ever created. Little cute fluffy genius trash pandas.

I live about six miles from downtown San Diego, and even though there are skunks, possum, and raccoons in my area, they do not make it into my yard often due to all the dogs in the neighborhood. It’s a gauntlet of sharp teeth and butt-lickers before they can reach my hens so I’ve taken a much more lax approach to my chicken coop design. And over the last five years, I haven’t lost a single hen to predation *knocks on wood*.

So, that being said, here’s how to make a very overly-fancified chicken run that is a mix between the Colosseum and a circus tent.

I’ve mentioned before that my initial chicken run was slapped together in a fury and with little thought towards longevity. I wasn’t exactly sure what my needs were at the time, or the needs of my hens. Was it too much room or not enough? Was I wasting precious real estate in the yard? So I decided a simple fence wouldn’t be too terrible in the short run while I observe the hens and see how it vibes with the yard as a whole.

Just to give you an idea of the set up I have, here’s a little video to illustrate the design using the finest of modern drone technologies. Note the difference between the newer front of the run and the floppy backside. Also, if you want to learn more about the coop design, go here. I’ll wait.

I’m loving this drone footage! A very very old friend of mine was visiting recently and he brought his drone with him. Spent hours zipping all over my neighborhood and took some amazing footage. I’ll be using that for posts coming up when appropriate. Cheers Mike!

Back to the chickens. After a short while, I was able to determine what worked in the run and what didn’t work. So I began to design a modified run in my head. Which was just in time as the old one was quite literally falling apart.

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Scenes from a Winter Garden


Part One: Violet and the Ghost of the Great Pepper Tree

Violet doesn’t belong here. She wasn’t invited. And neither was her brother, Squats for that matter. These were random chickens that were squeezing their tiny fluffy butts into my garden through a gap in the fence.

Just big enough to fit little peeping babies that would peck and scratch the shit out of all my garden beds and make a hell of a mess on my manicured pathways. My precious, precious pathways.

This I could not abide for long. An action plan began forming in my head and I decided to set up some chicken traps and capture these usurpers of my calm. I set up a net at the end of my long cement makeshift patio. A tunnel of many confusing obstacles leading to a hidden circular lobster net. I then went inside and waited. Maniacally so.

After a few hours, I went out to find them in my veggie garden picking, scratching and eating all my vittles. Our eyes locked and all three of us were frozen in the timeless dance of predator v. prey. I pounced, barefoot and snarling. As planned, they leaped out of the raised bed and began sprinting down the long cement pad with me slapping bare toes behind them.

They hit the hidden net like so many drunkenly applied darts into pub dartboards. *thunk, thunk*. With wings flapping uselessly, they could do no more than submit to my gentle yet firm grasp.

After some moments of gentle cooing, I placed them in my little elevated chicken coop for newbies. And there they remained. The day was won!

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