Have you ever met a chicken? Now those are some resourceful animals. They can turn a few green weeds and your yard bugs into the most delicious golden-yolked eggs you’ve ever tasted. We’ve had chickens for about 6 years and, honestly, I can’t imagine not having them anymore. In addition to providing the best breakfast in town (and sometimes dinner, too) they are full of personality and quirky character.
In addition to being productive and entertaining they are good with kids. (The hens are, anyway. Roosters are another story.) The ones that don’t like kids generally can’t be caught by them anyway. The tamer, gentler ones put up with a lot.
|Exhibit A (How to Hold a Chicken)|
|Exhibit B (How NOT to Hold a Chicken)|
Let me reassure you that that chicken was promptly rescued and was quite fine.
Early last spring my long-suffering husband built our chicken coop and run from almost entirely scavenged materials. He busted out his circular saw, a cap with ear flaps, a pencil, and a lot of recycled lumber (aka Other People’s Trash).
|Prepping scavenged plywood for the chicken coop|
|Constructing the perimeter of the run with stakes from the trash|
Our coop is a testament to resourcefulness. We didn't really have any building experience but you can do anything if you read a book about it, right? Mr. Chanclas built a 3’x5’ coop with an attached 12’ x 12’ run. The plywood for the coop came from two great trash-picking scores. (Some of it is riddled with termite tunnels but that’s another story for another day.) The lumber that goes around the edges of the run was also trash, the chicken wire is leftover from two households, I bought the coop hinges for 99 cents at the Habitat Restore, and the center pole is a fallen tree from our property. The tin roof pieces were saved from the old coop at our old house. Alas, the deer netting that will cover the run was bought at Home Depot. The kids helped paint the finished coop, which has helped it to resist warping due to moisture.
|Painting the coop with leftover latex paint|
|Even a toddler can help paint a chicken coop!|
Here is how the whole thing looks today:
|The finished chicken coop and run|
It has served our chickens well. We’ve had 12-18 chickens live in there during the last year and our only casualty was the first night after we moved them in. We hadn’t finished securing the net to the top of the wire sides and a predator (probably a fox) came and killed a hen in the night. We immediately finished securing the net and have not suffered another loss since. I’ve seen coyotes, foxes, and hawks in the yard but none have found a way in. Proof that you only need a secure coop to raise chickens- not a fancy one!