My New Garden Project for 2011 is almost complete! I’m working on improving my food security, and to that end I decided a few chickens would be just the ticket, providing my family with fresh eggs and manure for my garden. The chicks have just been relocated to their new home, having outgrown the Rubbermaid tote they were living in until now.
Because I was determined to build my chicken coop using as much recycled material as possible, and my husband was adamant that it not be an eyesore, much of the construction work fell to him. Good thing he’s handy!
The frame of our coop used to be my son’s bunk bed, which was itself a homemade piece that we bought secondhand many years ago. Does that mean it’s re-recycled? The lovely window we found at our local re-store, it looks like it came from someone’s kitchen remodel.
It took eleven people – thanks neighbours and friends – to carry the henhouse out of the garage to its home against the back fence.
We have wired the run with ½” poultry wire, dug well into the soil to deter predators, because we have rats, raccoons, and mink who all love to eat eggs and/or chickens! Hopefully they’ll be safe locked in the coop at night…
I found an excellent source of information at Backyard Chickens. Even though we kept a largish flock when I was a kid, I wanted to refresh my knowledge and learn about poultry keeping on a smaller scale. This site contains everything you need to know and more!
I bought day-old chicks from a local producer. They are hybrid, sex-linked pullets. That way I know that I have all girls, as I promised the neighbours no roosters! I have 3 Cinnamon Queens and 3 Red Rocks. Despite warning my daughter that they were not to be considered pets, I have named them; Petal, Violet and Willow are the Red Rocks (which are largely black), and Fern, Sage and Rosemary are the Cinnamon Queens (the brown chicks). They are a comical bunch, still working out the pecking order of the flock. I think Fern will be the dominant hen, she was the biggest chick, and seems to be the bossiest!
The chicken coop is tucked against the back fence, behind my wisteria arbour, and far from being an eyesore; I think it’s very cute. I purposely didn’t keep track of how much I spent on it, despite using a lot of secondhand materials; I still had to buy some wood, the window, hardware, wire, paint and cement blocks.
I can’t wait for fresh eggs! These hybrid chickens are reputed to be excellent producers of big brown eggs, and should start producing them when they are about 20 weeks old. Then I will be able to provide complete meals from my yard, including veggies, eggs and fruit. Now that’s food security!