Monday, January 28, 2013

Old School Prepping

Spent a day this weekend building this...

chicken coop

Its a chicken coop. Sorry about the washed out pic, but the sun was in my face when I took the picture.

We have a corner of our small backyard that's kind of been a junk collecting area. Its behind the garden tool/mower shed and Mrs. Paladin's workshop - so its not visible from the rest of the yard. The weather last weekend was so gorgeous I decided to clean it out and put in a little chicken yard. The yard itself will be about 10 x 8, with the coop inside. The lid on the main portion of the coop is hinged for cleaning inside and the lower section on the right are nest boxes accesible from outside the coop via a drop down door. I still have to level it and put some pavers or sumthin' under the legs so they aren't in contact with the ground.

If the weather cooperates, I'll start the fenced chicken run next weekend. I'm putting down several inches of sand/gravel and then putting up a frame covered in poultry netting with shade cloth on top. Should keep everyone where they are supposed to be and keep critters and cats out.

So, why chickens?... Eggs, of course. Each adult chicken will lay an egg every day or two - and they will do this for 3-4 years before tapering off. Egg production will continue year round as long as the chicken's think the daylight hours are at least 14 hours long. You can put a light/timer in the coop to keep the eggs coming during winter. No rooster required unless you want the eggs to be fertile. Eggs can be a welcome source of continuous fresh food (in good times and bad) and a valuable barter item. Scraps from the garden/kitchen and keeping the chickens in a movable pen rotating around the "regular" backyard can suppliment a large portion of their feed.

We should be able to run 4 hens comfortably, which is all we want for now. That will net us anywhere from 12 to 20 eggs every week. No Rooster - cuz I don't need one and the neighbors probably don't want the noise. I'm looking specifically for Buff Bantam Brahmas at this point - so if anyone knows a source near the DFW area in Texas let me know. Otherwise I'm probably going to have to just mailorder some chicks in a month or two.

I am also planning (tentatively) on putting in some quail pens later this spring.

Mmmmmmm. Bacon Wrapped Quail!


hiswiserangel said...

I'm impressed! We just got permission from our city leaders to have chickens in the city limits, so we'll probably be building a coop soon. Nothing like fresh eggs on demand.

3boxesofbs said...

From a friend who raises chickens, he suggests visiting Yahoo Groups and look for "DFW Poultry".

hiswiserangel said...

Isn't that the pro football team?

Paladin said...

Thanks bobs! I'll give that a shot.

Angel- You're thinking of the DFW Paltry. ;)