Wednesday, March 13, 2013

As I Wait for Spring...

After a long winter, the gardening itch is in full force. There is still snow on the ground and digging in the garden is still weeks away. The general garden planning is complete, new supply of seeds purchased, and the seed-starting schedule is in progress.

I am finding myself thinking about adding some laying chickens to the homestead. This is an idea that I have been mulling over on and off for years. I feel now is a good time since I work from home and can devote more attention to a small flock.

The Cons:

Start Up Costs - We live a frugal lifestyle especially since I have been self-employed. The initial investment of a coop, run, feeders, waterers, etc. will have an impact.

Predators - We have many including fox, raccoon, skunks, dogs, etc. Keeping chickens won't be a lot of fun if I lose them or worry about them all the time.

The Pros:

Fresh Eggs - My mind is already seeing flashes of yummy quiches, egg noodles, breads, baked goods, salads, mayonnaise, etc.

Compost for the Garden - The addition of chicken litter is sure to heat up my compost pile and provide great nutrients.

Clean Up Crew - Fallen apples, grassy and weedy areas, bugs, slugs, etc.

Garden Helpers - A protective chicken hoop over a garden bed will allow the chickens to forage for bugs (goodbye cut worms and slugs), aerate the soil, and prepare it for planting.

Fun - Everyone who raises chickens talks about the personalities that develop.

As I make my list of pros and cons, I realize that the cons are mostly from unknown issues. I can save for the coop, do my research and find less costly way of building a coop. With more research, I will gain knowledge of how to build a more predator proof coop and run to keep the chickens safe.

Until recently, I would have added K to the list of Cons. We have discussed chickens before and he was not fond of the idea. I found it difficult to proceed in a project when my partner in life was not on the same wavelength. Lately, he has shown that he is more accepting of chickens and is helping me plan and build the coop.

Now I am educating myself by reading books, reaching out to friends that have chickens, searching the internet for coop designs, reading blogs and backyardchickens.com. We will see where this goes.

16 comments:

  1. My husband is anti-chicken right now. I'm on the fence. One townhouse mate is on the fence like me and the other really wants them. But the one that wants them, I know really well. She won't take care of them no matter the good intentions she has at the start. It would be me or her husband. So for now we won't get them.

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    1. I understand completely. We've been back and forth on chickens for a while. K was against the idea thinking they were too much work. I am giving myself a year to seriously research, figure out coop plans, and think about location. If we still want to move forward, we will build the coop.

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  2. I still work in the corporate world, and one of my "cube neighbors" at work has chickens. She has lost a few to predators and I could tell that it bothered her. If it were me, I would go for it. I can't do it since I live in the suburbs and don't really have the space for it.

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    1. Does your "cube neighbor" bring you fresh eggs? I am an animal lover and know I would feel bad if I lost one to a predator. That is why I am hoping to do as much research as possible and try to prepare myself in case it happens.

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    2. Ha I wish she did. We have shared some garden harvests but not her eggs. I look forward to hearing what you decide.

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  3. I wish I could. I really hope you do, GM. It would be super! :)

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    1. I am pretty obsessed with learning all that I can about chickens right now. We will see :)

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  4. Great post! I can't imagine what its like with all of that land as opposed to my house with just a front and back yard. It must be terrific being able to do so much with your space.

    -Samudaworth Tree Service
    Tree Service Brooklyn

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    1. We don't have a lot of land, just a few acres in the country. But we try to make use of the property we have. Chickens are known for being the easiest livestock to add to a homestead. Many cities are recognizing this and allowing chickens as well.

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  5. I thought about some egg layers myself and am still on the fence. Someone has to be there every day and I don't have any neighbors that I could count on to take care of a flock if I travel.

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    1. Availability is definitely an issue that needs to be considered. We don't usually travel much but if we did have to go away for a bit, we have someone who would tend to the chickens.

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  6. If you want to come and see our set up, send me an e-mail. I am happy to talk about the start up costs and issues, and show you how we constructed our small coop, etc. We aren't far from you, in Richmond. Ali @ Henbogle

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    1. Ali, Thank you! I may take you up on the show and tell. I did search through your blog and read all your posts on building the coop. I do have many questions and will drop you an email later this week. Thanks again!

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    2. I have a PowerPoint file from a Maine Garden Day presentation I can share with you if you need another source. However, I suspect by now you know enough to be successful. Time to plan your coop!

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  7. We've found chickens very low-input once they're housed. I wish you were close enough to visit -- but I do agree that seeing them locally helps. Our area does an open coop bike tour each spring, and I think that helps people see the possibilities. Good luck in your decisions.

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  8. Fresh eggs are really delicious! Good luck with your plan and hopefully, you can protect these chicken to those animals.

    monument landscape

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