There are four chickens in our coop. Each produces an egg a day under optimal conditions. The eggs do not need to be refrigerated, they are covered in a protective coating called the bloom.
The coop is pretty straight forward once you get a hang for the handful of doors and mechanisms. The door to the run is a dutch style door, you can operate the top and bottom independently to make feeding scraps easier. The coop door latch can be a bit fiddly, sometimes lifting up on the door makes it easier to latch. The roof of the nesting boxes lifts open for easier egg harvesting. The pull string on the side of the coop raises/lowers the gate between the run and the coop. This can be helpful when cleaning or feeding by containing the chickens in either the run or the coop.
There are two PVC tubes in the coop: one for water and one for feed, it will be apparent which is which. We keep feed in a bin at the bottom of the basement stairs. The water can be topped off using a watering can from the outside hose.
The chickens will eat just about anything you give them as far as leftovers. There are some foods to avoid though, and some favorites they will go bonkers over.
- Potato skins
- Beans (unless thoroughly cooked/canned)
- Avocado skins/pits
- Sour Cream
- Corn on the Cob
In general the chickens handle winter extremely well. A few things are worth keeping an eye on though. There will be a heater in their water during winter months - it is important to keep water covering the heater as often as possible to avoid overheating and breaking it. Egg laying will slow a fair amount, no need to worry if there are few/none on certain days. We don't lock them in the coop unless it drops into negative degrees for long stretches of time. They love when it snows and will often chase snowflakes (probably because they aren't smart enough to know they aren't bugs…)