Raised a “City Girl”, always wanted to be a “Country Girl”. As a child I always wanted a farm. I love all animals and just found myself at peace when ever visiting a farm. When my husband and I bought our home on five acres I had big plans. Horses, goats and chickens. Well in the meantime my health got worse, so horses were out! But the chickens finally happened! We adopted five chickens and this massive coop from a family who had to move. It’s been the best thing that I have ever done. I absolutely love my mornings with the chickens and afternoons when they are most active. Not to mention FRESH EGGS!! There is nothing as wonderful as fresh eggs. You WILL notice a difference in taste and color of the yolk. So much better! I probably have the cleanest coop in town! They are a tad bit spoiled to say the least. They get a “little extra” snack in the mornings and afternoon along with the “scratch”. I have one that loves to be held and talked too.. Bessie is very sweet and actually stand up for me if another is feeling nasty and wants to peck at me. Bessie will actually peck at them and chase them away from me.
Chickens are wonderful!. They are clean, cheap and very quiet. (Roosters however are not so quiet) I chose not to have roosters… just wanted eggs to eat, not more chicks at the moment! They take very little time to care for and they give you the best tasting eggs ever!! Backyard coops are showing up all over these days, it has sort of become a trend! But before you go and buy your chicks and put up a coop… make sure you read a bit about raising chickens and knowing the breeds for particular climates as well.
There are a few things to consider when choosing your breed of a “laying hen”. Climate being one of the most important. If you live in an area that gets snow (like I do) you want a hardier breed. You can also think about the color and size of the Hens you want and the color of eggs that you would like to have. Some people like the “easter egg” assortment of colors. Ameraucana’s lay Easter eggs in blues and greens, and a Welsummer lays an egg so dark you’d think it was made of milk chocolate. If you are being practical and just want lots of fresh brown eggs, your best bets are the classic Rhode Island Reds and the Red Stars. These are hardy birds and great layers. I have Rhode Island Reds. They are very friendly, adapt well in the different temperatures that we get here and are wonderful layers. I install a heat lamp in the winter that points into the nesting boxes to keep them warm at night. If they get to warm they all head down to the end of the “hall” and sleep away from the lamp… but they have the option of being closer to it if they are colder.
Right now the coop has tarps up on the sides of it to keep out the wind, snow and rain. It’s important that they have a dry place to go to. We plan on doing some remodeling of the coop this spring. We will be putting a raised floor in to help keep preditors from digging in to the coop and putting siding on the sides of the building to keep the weather out. I will put in windows for cross ventilation which is very important and actually cover the “yard” with netting to keep out preditors as well. I will also be raising “red worms” to feed to them as I do not let my chickens “free range” because of the wild life where I live. They’d be eaten up in a heart beat by a mountain lion or bear! So they have a yard that will sometimes get a worm or bug… but they keep it so clean, that I have to do the bug and worm hunting for them! I often buy them dried meal worms from the feed store. Big treat for them!
My advice to you if you want to simplify your life a little and save on the grocery bill… do some studying on raising chickens. Then go for it… it’s simple, it’s fun, it’s very entertaining and you’ll love your fresh eggs for breakfast, baking and gift giving!