Friday, April 29, 2011

Coop & Run Update

I ordered 2 books a couple weeks ago, Building Chicken Coops for dummies and Chicken Coops: 45 Building Plans for Housing Your Flock. Chicken Coops:45 is NOT at all what I thought it would be. Sure, there are 45 "plans" for coops but none of them suit my needs and the plans weren't that great either... Building Chicken Coops for Dummies on the other hand is awesome! it only provides 5 plans HOWEVER, those 5 plans are for back yard chicken coops! Not only that, the plans are complete, they give a breakdown of HOW to build the coop, a list of materials is also provided. I HIGHLY recommend the For Dummies books!

We also measured out the cement pad, it's 24'X24' square. So no what we are debating HOW we want to fence the Pad. Do we want to fence the entire thing or just a portion of it.

The coop I was looking at is a walk in coop that can accomodate up to 30 chickens. It would allow me to walk in, easily clean the coop, it would also be easy-ish to insulate, I could have a storage area. I could also have a little entrance way with double doors. This would  allow me to enter the coop without worry of chickens escaping. On these plans the there's an entrance door but there's also a small chicken door. I think I am going to make a large door and then incorporate the chicken door into it.

For now, that's it. I can't wait to start working on the coop! Still no idea where I am going to get my chickens...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Where to set up the coop and run

Much debate has been going on as to where the coop should be, what it should look like and so on. Well after some debate we decided on where it should be located; it will be on the cement pad, it just makes most sense. So yesterday I cleared off the pad from pine needles, moss and most of the wood that was piled in one corner. I had to wait till today for Lee to help me finish clearing off the pad because the 4X4 were frozen to the ground and too hard for me to move. There's still the A/C unit to move out of the way but for the most part it's ready to start building.

How this all started...

Last August I moved back from Carleton Place to Invermere. I had been telling Lee that I want chickens and bees on and off for a while. I really just want our own little hobby farm to feed ourselves and friends and family. So on our trip across the country I picked up a book and magazine about chickens.
I kinda dropped the subject over winter, but now spring is here...
A little bit of back information, we rent a house, it's on almost 2 acres, there's a great cement pad where a cabin used to be (stay tuned for pictures of the property). It's perfect to be fenced in as predetors can dig under as much as they like but they won't get through the bottom. There are many trees on the property that provide shade and shelter.
Due Diligence:
Before getting too carried away with hopes and dreams and construction, I spent the month of march doing some research and getting permission to keep chickens. My landlords have agreed to let me raise a few chickens and I've checked with RDEK about the bylaws concerning raising poultry in my back yard. Turns out I am allowed to have up to 15 chickens!!! This is getting better by the minute!

What to get? What to get? So many breeds, so many choices, so few chickens I can keep!!! Well first things first, WHERE can I get chicks/Chickens? I found 2 hatcheries just north of Edmonton and found out that I can purchase chicks from Fort Steele I was looking at Miller Hatchery ( ) at first but I sent them an e-mail and never heard back. Then I tried working with Rochester Hatchery ( ) and they weren't much better. The Rochester Hatchery website is out of date, if you e-mail questions they mostly answer with one word.

I was hoping to get some Danish Brown Leghorns, Ameraucanas and Buff Oprington, however, I would have had to purchase a minimum of 25 chicks from Rochester Hatchery so that's a no go. On the 9th of April, Lee and I were at Fort Steele and seen a sign that advertized chicks for sale. I called the person who's selling them, managed to speak to someone. They took my name and number to put me on their list. I am hoping to get Barred Rock Plymouths and Chanteclers.

At the end of the day what I would really like are 6 laying hens and 9 meat birds. I will have no problem collecting eggs but Lee will have to do the killing of the chickens... I'll pluck and clean...