I’ve been reading a book called Home Farm. It’s a great and I think inspirational book that shows what you can do if you have a bit of land – from growing vegetables and starting a kitchen garden if you have a tiny plot, to growing crops and keeping a variety of life stock if you have a few acres. My son got interested too, and we decided we’d go for a couple of chickens. For starters anyway.
First of all, we needed a chicken coop. Up here we definitely need a place to lock them up at night to make sure they can fulfill their role as egg producers for us, rather than becoming dinner for foxes or pine-martens. Looking at prices of ready-made coops, the decision to make our own was quickly made. The coop itself took a bit longer.
My son and I decided on a design, based on a picture I had seen in the book. We started full of enthusiasm, making it up as we went along. Within 2 days we had made the frame and put the timbers on one of the sides. I had just finished putting on the nesting box when it struck me: How were we going to get this thing outside? Width of the door of the shed: less than 3 feet. Definitely not a great way of making a chicken coop, at least not when it’s 4 feet wide. After taking most of it apart again, we moved it to my future studio space, which has double doors!
This weekend my daughter and I went and got the chickens. A friend had a surplus and she offered me 5 hens. Her husband caught them and put them in a cardboard box and off we went. On the way home I had to break suddenly and as the box slid around, the top opened and a couple of indignantly squawking heads popped out. My daughter launched herself into the back of the jeep to force the chickens back into the box before they could climb out and to keep it closed until we got home.
Here are the chickens in their new home. They settled quickly and gave us 4 eggs for our Sunday breakfast.