April 24, 2023
I am so excited to share some new additions to our little one-acre homestead with you! I know the title gives it away, but we got chickens!
How we actually acquired the chickens is a neat story in and of itself, so let me tell you the tale. As you may already know, I value a simple lifestyle and do not care for extra clutter in my home. My thoughtful mother-in-law knows this about me, and so she always tries to find practical gifts. So Mom Q simply asked my husband and me if we would like to receive a “coupon” for chickens as our Christmas gift.
(If you read my last blog post, you would know that her kindness warmed my heart for several reasons. First, she actually asked our opinion about a gift, and second, she thought of a practical gift that we have been wanting for quite some time! Way to score some huge points, Nana!)
At Christmas, Mom Q gave us this sweet coupon for spring chickens and several other necessary items. My husband's brother, Lukas, raised the chickens from little peeps for us which gave us a huge head start.
On the car ride home from our family Christmas party, I pulled out my phone and started looking up chicken coop kits online. There are some cute coops out there that look like little houses complete with a chicken run (for those of you like me who don’t know a lot about chickens, a chicken run refers to a large cage which allows the chickens to run around and also stay protected).
While many of these kits are darling and would have suited our needs, my husband wanted something more substantial and “beefy.” We have a variety of predators in our neighborhood since we live less than a mile from a state park. These predators include foxes, bears, hawks, vultures, coyotes, racoons, and also the annoying neighborhood dogs that we try to keep off of our property without much success.
In January began the hunt for chicken coop plans, and my husband settled on this plan. In no way am I trying to be unkind, but the plans were not well-written and impossible to follow, and so my hubby ended up creating his own plans. In my humble opinion, our coop turned out so beautiful and is much closer to what I dreamed of owning.
Without even telling my husband, I had pictured a chicken coop that resembled an iconic white-washed American farmhouse. In my mind’s eye, I envisioned the wide horizontal planks painted crisp white with flower boxes brimming with flowers and herbs attached beneath charming chicken-wire windows. I figured such a coop would be too difficult to build, so I did not voice my thoughts. I was just tickled that my husband, Jesse, would make the effort to build a coop.
The original coop plans that Jesse picked had more of what I call an ‘80s angled roof flair (not my favorite), but I was willing to go with it. But what Jesse ended up building is balanced aesthetically, and I love the symmetry and form of the chicken coop. Honestly, I did not fuss about the other plans, and without me even saying anything, Jesse changed the plans to build something he knew I would like. Major points for hubby!
The coop Jesse came up with also gives the chickens almost twice the amount of head room than the original plans called for which has several benefits. Obviously, the chickens have more space to flap around and can roost even higher (which they like). The higher roof makes it easier for us to peek in there and check on things, and if we ever needed to go in there (ugh!), we could do so without feeling completely claustrophobic.
Just this weekend my husband finished the nesting box doors, so the coop is technically completely built but there are a few details I would like to add over time.
--Paint the coop. This is my one small contribution that I cannot wait to have complete! I hope to start painting sometime soon. I plan to paint it plain white which will imbue that farmhouse vibe that I would like.
--Build window boxes. I cannot wait to plant some herbs and maybe some flowers in cute window boxes. I had hoped for bigger windows, but then Pop (my father-in-law) explained that because of cold winter weather and predators, large windows were not practical. Oh well! Usually practicality wins out over my decorating ideas.
*For those of you who may be looking for detailed, step-by-step plans of how to build this coop, I am so sorry but you will not find those details in this post. Unfortunately, I just don’t have time for that work, but perhaps someone with some carpentry skills could at least gain some inspiration from this post.
So why do we want chickens?
Well, for a variety of reasons, actually, and not just for fresh eggs.
For anyone who may be wondering, getting your own backyard chickens is probably not cheaper than buying eggs from the store (so sorry if this disappoints you!) But we are truly excited to have fresh eggs. Storebought eggs do not hold a candle (chicken joke for anyone who knows what candling is) to fresh eggs! I am excited about the health benefits of fresh eggs.
I am also intrigued by the symbiotic relationship between chickens and a farm property. We feed our chickens food scraps, and then they give us eggs. We can use the eggs in a compost pile which can then provide nutrients for a garden. Thus, on and on the cycle goes. I am no farm professional by any stretch but am excited to learn!
The farm experience.
My husband and I have been wanting to create a small farm/homestead, so chickens are a great way for us to start the whole farm experience.
Teaching our children responsibility.
Though my children are not quite old enough to open the coop door, there are still ways that they can help. In time, I plan to give them the daily tasks of feeding the chickens and gathering the eggs. This is a simple way for them to be involved in family responsibilities and see an immediate reward for their labors (fresh eggs for breakfast!).
Pets for our children.
Our family has never had a pet for various reasons, allergies being the main one. So the chickens are our new pets!
Thank you for joining me as I chatted “chickens” today. Do you have chickens? If so, do you have any chicken advice?
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