Chicken Houses of Mendota Part III

It’s Super Bowl Sunday, and I’m sitting here mesmerized with the reality show Southern Justice. How about those police dogs? They really earn their keep and talk about liking your job!!!

It is gray outside and supposed to be a wintry mix tonight and tomorrow. I’ve got potato soup in the crockpot for dinner. Having one of those quiet days where I look at my beloved dog and try and be thankful for the almost 16 years we’ve shared with her. It’s coming to an end, and my heart is breaking. However, that’s not what this post is about. Yesterday, Mother Nature gave us some sunshine. Much needed sunshine.

It was a good day to go looking for another chicken house. I blogged about two others in the past few weeks. See here and here. I didn’t have to go far for today’s chicken house…just up the road a piece. I went to Ricky and Trina Vickers. They are my neighbors, and Ricky is a distant cousin. I’ve known him since he was a squirt in a diaper. Here’s his mama…our families are intertwined by blood, love and friendship. The red thread that time does not break. Our parents were lifelong, best friends. They understood that true riches are in the people you love. Hello Cousin Susan.

Susan Collier

Gosh…she looks good!! Susan is a survivor. She has faced down some tremendous health challenges in the past five years, and she always lives with the grief of having her oldest son taken in his prime. Mark Vickers will never be forgotten by this family. However, I see her returning to good health, and I am grateful.

Back to chickens…here we are!!

Chicken House 1

The small farm trend today is to have chicken tractors where the chicken house can be moved about on the property. We have those in Mendota, but we also believe in using what we have.  Ricky and Trina had this building, and it’s perfect for their hens and roosters. These two will take on any farming challenge. They’ve raised piggies, ducks, chickens and they want to get into bees! They love honey. I know. I sell or barter them my honey!

If there can be a crapamongous picture, I can take it. Sorry! If this was a good picture, you’d see a hen “dusting” which basically is cleaning herself by rolling in dirt. Dusting gives her healthy skin and feathers and removes parasites. It must feel awfully good, too, because she would stand up and then just flop back over. I want to dust, too!!

Chicken Dusting

Ricky and Trina’s chickens are well adjusted. They’re very friendly and not the least afraid. They mingle with us.

Chickens Mingling

They make soothing sounds. Forget meditation music…someone needs to put a recorder in their henhouse and make a million dollars. People in the city may never hear these sounds. Trina talks about having chickens and, besides healthy eggs, she said they provide hours of entertainment. They’re restful, but fun, creatures.

They have a few roosters and will be trying to get rid of some of them, but they won’t be getting rid of Thomas Jefferson. Yes, I said Thomas Jefferson. Trina thinks that her rooster looks like Thomas Jefferson. Here’s a picture of one of our most famous presidents…


And here’s Thomas Jefferson, the Rooster.

Thomas Jefferson Rooster

Trina, are ya sure? Ricky…her eyes are funny…maybe you shouldn’t let her drive. This rooster, however, does have a very high-sounding name for his breed. Salmon faverolle. This breed originated in France and has five toes, really fuzzy feet, and is known to be a great rooster to have near children because of its good nature. In Ricky and Trina’s case, Thomas Jefferson is a pet. Do you know what a rooster does besides fertilize the eggs? You can have eggs without a rooster, but you have to have a rooster to have chicks. He has different crows to alert the hens of danger, food, etc. Some roosters will even catch insects and give them to the hens. I don’t think Thomas Jefferson has given much of his food away. He is huge.

Fat rooster..

TJ 2

Back to the henhouse. Here is an ingenious way to provide water without carrying it every day. We’ve had plenty of rain in southwest Virginia for the past few years. The rain collects in the gutter and goes into the barrel which goes into the the chicken house or into the overflow barrel. Very smart.


The chickens have a promenade of sorts to exit the henhouse. The white piece of wood is pulled back exposing an opening and out come the hens.

Exit Roof

They have a series of runs made from recycled pallet boards. Free. Ingenious.

Pallet Run Extension 2

And another shot…

Pallett Run Extension 1

And another shot…

Pallett Run

If you are thinking about getting chickens and you cannot afford one of the chicken tractors that you see at Tractor Supply or online, Ricky’s demonstrates that it doesn’t have to be extremely fancy. The chickens need shelter. They need good food. They need 8 hours of sunshine. And I think in the case of the Mendota chickens, you’d be told they need love.


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  1. OK I’m gonna put myself out there and ask what maybe a few other readers are wondering…..what the heck is a chicken tractor? And how do you teach a chicken to drive it since they don’t have hands???

    • Funny! A chicken tractor is a portable chicken house that can be moved around. I’ll show you one in a future post. What do you mean a chicken doesn’t gave hands? Thomas Jefferson is pretty handy with his girls!

  2. I love this website. Hubby found it for me since we have chickens in town here and he knows I love to see how other people fix up their digs for the chicks. True chicken lovers spoil their gurls.
    Maybe you could come see mine set-up some day.

    • Pam
      You are so nice–especially since I haven’t been keeping the website updated. Going to change that now that Adventure Mendota is closed for the season. Thank you!!

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