Your inspiration of raising chickens:
After the Lyons Farmette hosted the first Tour de Coops 3 years ago, I realized how easy it is to keep chickens. So the next year, I decided to host a Boulder Tour de Coops and asked Betsy at the Farmette to add 5 chickens to her order that year. Two of my birds could fly over my 5 foot fence, so I took them back to the Farmette this spring and exchanged them for 3 chicks. I am a vegetarian, and a lot of my protein comes from eggs. After seeing how easy it was, it only made sense to have chickens. I am also a permaculture teacher and use my home site as a demonstration yard and a place to experiment. The right animal for a permaculture design can really help you utilize your on site resources in a more productive way, so the chickens were added.
Pros of having chickens:
They are hilariously entertaining, they are a good alarm clock (one of my hens is particularly clucky in the morning until I let her out of the 10′ x 10′ enclosure), the neighborhood children love them, they’re educational, they eat pests, the eggs are delicious and I know where they are coming from, I’m reducing my carbon footprint, and their manure is a great nitrogen source for the garden.
Cons of having chickens:
I don’t want an alarm clock, there seem to be more flies around, they are potential predator food, I have to be more cautious with visiting dogs and I have more worry in the winter when it is really cold.
Bee Adventure Stories:
I have a few friends that were a little concerned about increased bee activity, as my deck is a very social place. When you look out in the yard, you definitely see an increase in bee activity. My friends soon learned that the bees are actually busy little bees and have very little interest in us. This is a very calm natured hive, and they are quite comfortable with me weeding and working around the hive.
More about my Homestead:
My coop is a hand-me-down from the Lyons Farmette. It is about 5′ x 5′ simple wood construction. It was raised about 3 feet off the ground, which makes it more human friendly, but I cut the legs off so it would sit on the ground and retain more heat for the winter. Around the coop is a predator proof enclosure. Chicken wire covers the entire 10′ x 10′ foot area, is trenched under the ground, and then the base of the enclosure is surrounded with large rocks, to prevent predators from digging under. The top is load bearing in case foxes, racoons or other animals climb on top. It has 2 windows across from each other for ventilation. I cover these with insulation when it gets really cold in the winter. Then I have a run that the girls hang out in during the day that is about 13′ x 60′. There is a wood fence along one side, and then simple wire fencing on the other side that is 5′ high.