Some new arrivals join the homestead!
One of our most exciting moments on the homestead so far has been welcoming new members to the family, not just our two beautiful boys – but some new friends of the feathered variety! Meet Spotty, Dotty, Pip and Phoenix (Phi Phi for short).
Keeping chickens has always been our dream and we were so thrilled to finally be in a place to make a home for our little flock.
Here are a few reasons why keeping chickens was something we wanted to do:
Fresh eggs: One of the biggest benefits of keeping chickens is having a constant supply of fresh eggs. Not only are these eggs delicious and nutritious, but we will also know that they’ve come from chickens that are happy, loved and well cared for.
Companionship: Chickens can be surprisingly social creatures, and many people enjoy the companionship that comes from keeping them. Watching their funny behaviours and interactions with each other can be a source of endless entertainment as we can already see the different personalities in our flock coming out.
Garden benefits: Chickens are great foragers and can help keep your garden free of pests like snails and slugs. They also produce nutrient-rich manure that is an amazing addition to compost for the garden.
Sustainability: Raising chickens can be a sustainable practice, as they require relatively little space and resources compared to other types of livestock. They can also help reduce food waste by eating kitchen scraps and leftovers.
Learning opportunity: Keeping chickens can be a great learning opportunity for both children and adults. It teaches responsibility, patience, and empathy towards animals, as well as providing an opportunity to learn about biology, agriculture, and sustainability.
Overall, keeping chickens can be a truly joyful experience for those who are willing to put in the time and effort. Whether you’re looking for a source of fresh eggs, a fun hobby, or a way to live more sustainably, raising chickens can be a great option and we are loving it.
But, first - a coop!
In typical John fashion, our chicken coop was never going to be an off-the-shelf job – we were excited to design and build our own, and we had so much fun putting it together with Crusoe lending a hand. Here are some tips if you’re thinking of building your own coop.
Plan and design
Start by planning and designing your chicken coop. Consider the number of chickens you plan to raise, the space available, and the climate in your area. You can find many plans and designs online or create your own.
Once you have your design, gather all the necessary materials. You will need wood, screws, nails, chicken wire, roofing material, and insulation (if you live in a cold climate).
Build the frame
Start by building the frame of the coop. Use treated lumber to prevent rot and use a level to ensure the frame is square.
Once the frame is complete, add walls to the coop. Use plywood or tongue-and-groove boards. Make sure to leave openings for doors and windows.
Install the roof
Install the roofing material over the top of the coop. You can use shingles, corrugated metal, or another roofing material.
Add doors and windows
Install doors and windows in the coop. Make sure they are secure and lockable to prevent predators from entering.
Install the chicken wire
Cover the walls and openings with chicken wire to keep your chickens safe from predators.
Add perches and nesting boxes
Inside the coop, add perches for the chickens to roost on at night and nesting boxes for them to lay eggs in.
Add bedding and food and water containers
Finally, add bedding to the coop and food and water containers for your chickens.
Building a chicken coop can take some time and effort, but it can be a rewarding experience as we found ourselves. Make sure to follow all safety guidelines when using tools and always prioritise the safety and comfort of your chickens.