Thursday, December 4, 2008

Chickens On The Cheap...

I am fairly frugal by nature. I caught a break a month or so ago and was able to purchase two wooden playhouse kits for only $80 each, which would make perfect chicken coops. Their purchase had been an investment in our future farm. We hadn’t planned to use them at our city property, but at least one would be put to good use on our urban farm.

City life can be treacherous for chickens. I always heard that everybody likes to eat chicken. However, everybody in that sentence should be changed to every species. That includes stray dogs, cats, raccoons, skunks, hawks, even peregrine falcons! We also have harsh winters that include blizzards and bone-numbing cold. In the northeast, storms can creep in with very little warning. It just made sense to create an indoor pen to protect our chickens. They would have opportunities to forage outside when we were home, but while at work it was important that they be safe.

We determined that the best place to do this was on the second floor of our carriage house. It was a rather large affair, roughly the size of a raised ranch house. We wouldn’t have more than 6 hens, but they would have about 700 square feet of living space. Once we partitioned off the chicken pen, there would be room for some storage and maybe some of our other farm ventures. Since the weather was so cold, it wasn’t feasible to start the construction work. But it did give us several months to start to collect construction materials from Craigslist, Freecycle and even the curb. I would also have the time to watch the sales at Tractor Supply and other places until we had everything that we needed to go forward in the Spring. Mission: 2 Mars urban farm was really starting to come together.

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