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Welcome! I created this site to share what we've done, talk about what we plan to do, and exchange ideas with other folks who are on the same path as us. Join us in the fun of living at Chickaree Hill Farm!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Raising chickens is really easy!

Last year we decided to get chickens.  We had an old chicken coop on our property - it hadn't been used in probably over 25 years.  It is a very large building, as far as chicken coops go.  We installed new siding over the old siding, replaced some floorboards on the second floor, and dug out quite a bit of old "organic matter" from the first floor.  It was about 1 foot deep with old corn cobs, hay, dirt, and rocks. We predator-proofed the place (we hope) by installing wire screening all along the bottom perimeter.  The bottom edge of the screening is buried about 6 inches deep in concrete.  Then we painted the whole first floor to give it a brighter, cleaner look.  Love it!

New Siding
Up until this point, we were basically just cleaning up an old structure on our property - we could have used it for lots of different things.  Actually, my husband suggested to me a couple of times that just because we were fixing up the coop, it didn't mean that we actually had to get some chickens!  I will admit that I was the one who was gung-ho about getting the chickens - I just loved the idea of having our own farm-fresh eggs.

Roosting bar with droppings board
 The next steps were the chicken-specific modifications.  The inside dimensions of the coop are 22' x 15'.  The chickens' living area is 16' x 15', and the remainder is the entry way, stairs to 2nd floor, and storage space.  DH built a great roost with a droppings board below for easy cleanup.  He also built nesting boxes with access from the rear to collect the eggs.  It was funny that he wasn't too keen about getting the chickens, because as he was designing these things, he built them for twice as many chickens as we have because "next year we'll probably get some more!"

Nesting boxes
Most of the ideas for our roost, droppings board, and nesting boxes came from the "Chicken Forum" at www.backyardchickens.com.  This is a great website and if you are thinking about getting into chickens (or even if you've got them already), you should check it out.  They are a wealth of knowledge and you'll find everything you need to know!

Yes, the baby chicks arrive through the mail in a box!
Neither one of us had ever even come in close contact with a chicken before, but we went ahead and ordered our baby chicks.  It turns out that it really is quite easy to take care of chickens.  They're great pets (yes, all of ours have names) - they provide food, eat excess kitchen scraps, and one day, they'll end up in the pot!

The coop today - with enclosed run and larger fenced-in chicken pasture

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