Tuesday, August 14, 2012

What comes first the Chicken or the Coop?

In addition to the work on the ebook, there have been other projects in the works at my house.  It has been my dream for a few years to have a backyard chicken coop.  It was always my understanding that our town ordinances would not allow for chickens without substantial acreage (which very few people in my town have, living in an old New England densely populated coastal town.....).  I spoke with a representative at Town Hall who directed me to the zoning code that does indeed allow for backyard chickens provided they are kept as pets and not commercially sold for meat or eggs.  We cannot have roosters, but a few hens is just fine!
A few weeks ago Greg was chatting it up with a fellow farmer at our community garden.  This backyard gardener lives close to me, just the other side of Main Street, and he has turned his back yard into a beautiful garden oasis with a coop that can hold 8 chickens!  They keep his yard pest free, produce fertilizer for his gardens, and supply his family with eggs for half the year.  Walking through his backyard made me realize that like him, we can transform our yard into a space that provides beauty, nourishment, a hobby, and a little bit of self-reliance for our family. While we cannot support a flock of 8 chickens, we certainly can make a healthy, happy environment for 2 or 3......
Our yard right now is a bit cluttered with children’s pool toys, the pool, the dog kennel, the canopy, and our raised bed veggy  flower gardens.  We need to do some work to transform the space.  We are thinking of moving the pool ladder to the opposite side of the pool and moving our lawn furniture to the driveway.  The dogs rarely use the kennel now that they are older and more finicky, preferring to use the grassy area over the kennel decking.  This opens up a track of land that is perfect for a small coop and flock.  
The weekends have been too hot to tear down kennels and put up chicken wire fencing, but once the cooler weather of fall sets in, this is on our project list, along with building several more raised bed vegetable gardens.  
We have some time.  We don’t have to rush.  We can research coops.  These were at Agway but are much too big (and expensive) for our needs.  I found a farm in CT that makes their coops to order at very reasonable prices and has sizes that are ideal for a first coop.

We also have to wait for these little chicks to grow.  These adorable chicks were born Monday at Frog Creek.  The Mama Hen was caring for five fluffy balls of feathers when we were there and when we left there were still five more eggs under her.  Once Mama K knows how many viable chicks she has and their sex, she will let us take three females!  If this does not work out for us, we will look into getting hens that are beginning to lay eggs in the spring.  But there is something very magical about knowing that some of these little babies could be coming to our home in the future.........  

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