Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Chickens - A Change of Plans

I've mentioned that we plan to acquire chickens this spring. The plan was to complete a chicken coop in early Spring, and then get some pullets that would begin laying soon. Andrea and I recently discussed this, however, and decided that it would be best to delay our plans for chickens until 2014.

My reasons for the delay were primarily financial. After reviewing our budget it became clear that it was going to be tough to come up with the funds to build a chicken coop and buy chickens this Spring without making other sacrifices, such as the shed for the tractor. As much as we'd like to do everything as soon as possible, the reality is that finances sometimes require prioritizing purchases and projects.

Andrea's primary reason for suggesting the delay was timing. She was getting nervous about our ability to get everything ready in time, since we have not yet started construction of the coop. I don't expect construction to take long, but we do not even have a spot ready for it yet. The chicken coop and tractor shed will both go in the area that I am currently working on leveling. This project is half done, at best. The recent rains and snow have turned that area into a sticky, muddy, mess. I'll be able to resume work once it dries up, assuming there aren't more pressing projects to do in the garden by then.

The delay will also give us more time to prepare. After attending the Raising Heritage Poultry for Profit & Pleasure workshop we've realized that we still need to do some research before choosing the breed(s) that we want to acquire. We would also like to be able to gather salvaged materials for the coop, especially windows, doors, vent, hinges, etc, so the delay will give us more time for that. Lastly, the delay will give us time to plant grass in the area that will serve as the run for the chickens, since that is also part of the area I am leveling.

Our hope is that we can build the coop this fall, and have it ready for the chickens when Spring arrives in 2014. Also by then we should have been able to finalize our planning. Since we aren't building the coop until later in the year I hope to attend a workshop on chicken coop building at this year's Field to Fork Festival. I'll likely also try to attend some poultry workshops at this year's Mother Earth News Fair. Normally I let Andrea do those, but its time that I start learning more about the topic myself.

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