1st Coop..."Middle Ridge"
When I made a decision to keep and breed, different heritage varieties of chicken, I knew it would require multiple housing arrangments. I just didn't realise to what extent or how urgent separate housing would be sometimes.
I learned a lot of fatal realities after I got chickens. Most sudden deaths I experienced early on, had to do with not understanding flock life and suitable housing arrangements properly. The most susceptible breeds died first, and while I can't bring them back I've always learned something new.
For my set-up now I've learned that happy, healthy chickens - especially for breeding - do best in separate, self-contained housing. The optimal arrangement would be to let them free range all day too, but I have Wedge-tail eagles, domesticated dogs and foxes to contend with also.
I've had to whittle down my chicken ambitions recently, to meet our current financial situation. But each coop is still being used - a different rooster in each coop with hens of their own breed. In one coop I have included a different breed of hen as well, but that's for an intentional cross. I'm looking forward to how that develops in future.
The A-frame remains empty most of the time now, but when I've had chickens become suddenly ill or hen-pecked in the main coop - the A-frame tractor has been an incredible emergency accommodation.
I'd have more coops and tractors if I could, but I've learned to balance need with finances and realistic expectations. I can only spend so much time building chicken accommodation, while the rest of life calls. It's nice to have a dream and working towards fulfilling it, but you've also got to have a life. Mine at the moment also involves raising a daughter, looking after my medical needs so I'm around a lot longer, and being madly in love with my husband.
But when I want something unique to exercise that natural curiosity of mine, I turn to keeping chickens. I love what they teach me about responsibility, life, limitation and renewal.
It would be interesting to hear why others keep chickens too, and what lengths they've gone to in the name of poultry addiction. :)
By the way, thanks for asking the question Spots - I've never stopped to think why before.