If you want to become more self-sufficient, raising chickens for eggs is a great first project. They’re easy to keep and for the most part, inexpensive to feed and will provide you with great tasting, nutritious eggs. One of the fun things when getting chicks is deciding what kind of coop you want. There are so many different types of coops from large, elaborate ones to small, simple ones that can be moved around the yard. There are all sorts of plans you can buy to build your own, or you can recycle an old bus, car or playhouse into a nice coop. My favorite site to look at for coop ideas is Backyard Chickens
When we got our first small flock, we lived in a small town. We went to a flea market where someone had some chicks for sale. After looking and debating, we brought five chicks home and set up a small temporary cage to keep them in until we could get a coop built. The whole family enjoyed designing, building and painting our very first coop….
The pen was designed to fit over the edge of the coop, but we left the two unattached, so that we could easily separate them when it was time to move them. We put removable wheels on one end of the pen so all we had to do was lift up on the opposite end to move it. The coop part was heavy so we used a dolly whenever it was time to move it.
We made the dividers and back wall removable, so when it came time to clean, all we had to do was sweep the chips out the back. Because chickens poop a lot, and scooping poop isn’t our favorite chore, we felt it was important to add those features so that the poop scooping would go as quick as possible.
Here five happy little pullets are enjoying their new pen.
This was a neat little set up for our small back yard. When the chickens were full grown, we’d turn them loose in the back yard in the evenings and sit out and watch them search for bugs. It was so relaxing.
There was one really huge mistake we made before we started this project. With all the excitement of having our own flock of chickens, we forgot to check to see that it was legal to have chickens in town. We lived on the edge of town, about 2 blocks away from the county barn where there was a pasture with horses. So we just assumed it was ok to have a few chickens in the back yard. But it wasn’t, and we got in trouble. At first we were sent a letter and warned to get rid of them or we’d be fined. By that time we were very attached to our chickens and hated that we went to all that hard work to make a coop and weren’t able to use it. We decided that if we couldn’t have chickens we’d move somewhere that we could. We stalled out getting rid of them for as long as possible, but we unfortunately had to get rid of them before we were able to move. If you live in town, don’t make the mistake we did, be sure to check that it’s legal to have chickens before you get any.
Eventually we were able to move to where we’re living today and have chickens again. Since we wanted a bigger flock we started over with a new coop which you can read about here. Be sure to check back next week for another All Things Chicken post!
What is your chicken coop like? What feature do you feel is most important on a coop?
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