Have you ever thought to yourself “I wish I had a device in my life that could fertilize my garden, cuts my grass, minimizes backyard insects, gets rid of food scraps, teaches my kids responsibility, gives me something to talk about with my neighbors, and then after it does all that I want it to make me an organic breakfast”
Well have I got a solution for you- Backyard Chickens are your answer
I woke up a few months ago, (6 to be exact) and told Angela that I wanted chickens. Angela was born and raised on a farm, so this was not a scary or foreign idea- but more of a surprising one – coming from a city boy who currently does not live in the country. The wonderful/unfortunate part about being married to someone who makes decisions based on facts is you can’t spend a dime without discussing, consulting, calculating, budgeting, time managing, list making, and rough blue printing. This was quite an adjustment to get used to, considering my previous decisions were based entirely on whims and emotions.
This is how the conversation sounded
Me: Angela, I want to build a chicken coop
Angela: Cool! How much to chicken coops cost?
Me: MMMM- Not too sure- But we can have eggs every day!
Angela: Ok then- How much does feed cost, and how many eggs will they lay?
Me: … No clue- But we can feed them our table scraps!
Angela: Does the municipality allow chicken coops in town?
Me: Its really no different than having a dog or a pet bird
The conversation ended with the approval of a chicken coop on a condition – I couldn’t spend more on the coop then the cost of buying a dozen eggs every week for two years-
Quick math 12 ORGANIC eggs =$5.49 X 52 weeks a year X 2 years = $570.96 – I will tell you right now- It will cost more than that- but it was enough to give me something to budget for anyway. We spent a large chunk of the budget on rough framing, cedar posts, and chicken wire. We owe a big thanks to Muskoka Timber Mills for providing us with the boards for the outside of the coop! They gave us boards that were destined to a dreary life of a pallet- we laid them on the fire to give them a nice charring on the outside. The charring keeps the boards water tight and bug free, its also a eco-friendly way to get around staining or painting the boards- I didn’t want to taste it in my omelette. The best advice someone gave me was to dig a foot down and lay chicken wire under the entire coop- We have had SEVERAL unwanted guests in the night, but none of them have been able to invade.
This coop has been a big stepping stone in encouraging interaction of us and our neighbors. The kids next door love to come over and feed them- and its a good opportunity to get to know them better in a less intentional, not so awkward way.
I still don’t know alot about chickens, I feed them in the morning and top up their water bucket every other day. But I know one thing- I enjoy continually reaping the benefits of having farm fresh eggs every morning.
My good friends john, devin, hope and julie helped us build the beauty: Throughout most of the framing my job was primarily quality control, but towards the end I wasn’t too bad with the ol’hammer
- The 6 Best Chicken Coop Tours Around the Country (treehugger.com)