I don’t like just any birds. If you know me at all you know I like chickens. Okay-I love chickens.
Well, if I’m entirely honest I’m obsessed with chickens. From what I understand, it starts with one and then chicken math kicks in and before you know it you’ve got chicken fever.
It happens to the best of us.
Homesteading has been a part of my spirit for awhile now and as the months pass, I look back and wonder why I’ve never written about my chickens. Because they feed my soul and my belly. So for the next few posts, I’m going to write about some of the things that feed my soul.
My favorite kind of bird: Chickens!
We are fairly new to owning chickens. We purchased some property on the outskirts of town and on it came a ready made coop. Well, it was actually used as a dog pen, hog pen, and a storage facility as being in the south you learn you can use just about anything for whatever purpose you choose.
We were proud of this building. Structurally it was sound enough for chickens. It had two doors and was wrapped in hog wire. We modified it to have one door and reinforced the hog wire with an overlay of chain-link fencing we weren’t using.
Our first flock came from a buddy my husband works with. He has a family farm and gifted us with four birds. We got three Americaunas (Mother-Clucker, Joe-Buz, Whitey Tidy, and one Bovine Brown rooster (Ruddy).
One by one, our first flock became chicken dinner to a family of coons living in a dead tree on our property. Only one survived. The ROOSTER. But we thought he was a hen, so we nursed him back to health.
And chickens provide eggs, meat and were easy-peasy to care for (or so I thought), so it seemed if my hero and I were going to live off the land chickens was an easy place to start. Yeah right.
[bctt tweet=”Think #chickens are easy to care for? Here’s @MNicholeHall’s experience with #chickenfarming and . . .”]
Deciding to give this homesteading thing another shot, we needed better fortifications. I read plenty of forums and did my research. We boarded up any gaps between the roof line and structure with 2 x 4s. We wrapped the bottom half of the coop with chicken wire so the coons couldn’t pull the chickens through the chain link fencing. (gasp!)
After reading how much coons dig, we bought hardware cloth and buried it along the perimeter of the foundation of the coop. When the coons climbed into the nesting box and ate one of the chickens while the others watched and feared for their lives, we declared war!
Now that we’d built Fort Knox, war had been declared, we set traps and waited.
Coons: 3 / The Hall Heritage Homestead: 6
Bye-Bye coon family of 6. We also caught a couple of possum and one cat. We let the cat go free as our neighbors probably wouldn’t think too kindly of us if we’d shot their cat. Plus we aren’t THAT mean.
With the rodents eradicated, we won the war and were ready to try again.
Oft to the local swap meet we go…
Question: Have you considered raising chickens? What tips do you have for new homesteaders?