Now that the chain link is in and the ball is rolling on at least the plans for my vegetable garden, I can also start dreaming of a small backyard chicken coop. I’m thinking this might become a reality in 2 years, but I like to plan ahead, and dream and I find no harm in doing it now so at least I know what I’m up against.
The great thing about mixing social media and country life is the outpouring of support. From baby advice, to vegetable exchanges, everything can be organized with a click of a button. You might recall I met a very good friend of mine through a carpooling site when we first moved out here, and discovered another great neighbour on a facebook group before we had met in person. I’ve connected with old high school friends who also moved out here, and have bought, sold, and received so many freebies from the social media groups around me.
I posted a request on one such site asking for a tour of a backyard chicken coop and within the day I had many offers. This is where friendly country folk are eager to share their knowledge and experience. I’ve decided to drag my above mentioned carpooling site friend along with me. She loves to meet new people and we share the same sense of adventure. These people hosting the tour have asked for nothing in exchange, but true to country form, I might bake some bread for them as a thank you. Everything is done differently here in the country and true appreciation is a great sign of respect.
I have completed my tour! True to the above mentioned country payment, I baked a very large cheddar herb loaf as payment. Our host was a mom of 5 kids who ran a home day care and took care of a slew of barn yard animals in her back yard. She had hatching chicks in her kitchen, day olds in her living room, week olds on her front lawn in a makeshift chicken tractor (a moveable cage), and she had her full grown and egg layers in a pen beside her garage with a ramp to her garage window, which allowed the hens to have a cozy inside shelter and laying box. She had several different breeds, silkies, chantecler, barred rock, and we went over the pros and cons of each. She also had 3 big white pekin ducks, which Hubby would have loved, and after seeing them waddle about, I’m very tempted to add them to my list of critters I wouldn’t mind having. The ducks required very minimal shelter, didn’t fly (so no wing clipping) and grow very fast, which means we could process them several times a year, or since they have a better winter coat, we could winter them and have egg layers.
My only issue, with both ducks and chickens is the fact that the coop or hutch would be near the garden, thus over 200 feet from the house. Wintering feathered creatures is difficult. Its not necessary, but without a heat source you would need to head out each day to chip away at the water bucket and retrieve eggs before they froze. Not sure Hubby or myself want to tackle that quite yet.
So much to think about, but luckily we have all the time in the world.