Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Chickens

The neighbor is taking off to spend the winter with her grandchild in Oregon so I have luckily inherited six fine fat egg laying hens.

The herd is made up of two Plymouth Rock, two Leghorns and two Red Star (Red sex-link) all are great layers and winter hardy breeds.

A couple of weeks back I started building the coop. Real simple design partly screened on the east/west sides, fully screened on the south and closed on the north. Good sun during the day and keeps out the bitter north winds. There are several roosts in the north east corner which they seem to enjoy climbing.

A two by four foot roosting box in the north west corner easily hold the girls at night giving then a nice compact area to huddle in. There is a small laying box in the corner of the roost that all the hens share. They step in box, drop the egg and move on...no long term parenting for these ladies.

There is one foot of hardware cloth buried around the perimeter to keep the coyotes and lesser predators from burrowing under the walls. The window screens are also half inch hardware cloth which should keep out anything except bears and mountain lions. A fine structure if I do say so myself. I am still trying to pick a color.

The coop cost right around $250 to build. In addition to this there is the ongoing cost of feed and scratch.

The hens are laying between five and seven eggs daily. The eggs are spectacular with brilliant yellow yokes and the whites hold together well when cooking...not the pale runny things you pick up at the Safeway. Plus honestly the hens are fun to watch and give the dogs a nice diversion.

Now the obvious question...are the eggs worth the upfront and associated ongoing costs.

At first I doubted it thinking I could buy alot of eggs from the store at $1.99 a dozen. But then I smacked myself for looking at the situation through globalist glasses. Yes there is a cost associated with keeping chickens employed but I will always have the security of a steady protein supply that can grow itself with the simple addition of a rooster.

16 comments:

C.H. said...

A-men brother. Have chicken's here and the best damn omelets you can imagine. My hens conjure eggs by the dozens. You can dehydrate them too for breads and good stuff later on. Wonderful stuff. A rooster will add some dynamism to the mix (plus he's a hell of an alarm system.) Consider it this winter and double your population by spring.

squire said...

Factor in how much it costs to DRIVE to Safeway and the coup is looking more like a winner all the time.

Ozark Momma said...

Damn fine looking coop BigBear...and good looking hens to boot. Just think of all those yummy omelets with FRESH eggs...mmmm!

TEAM HALL said...

Big Bear, your coop is a real beauty!! Great job!

Anonymous said...

Another benefit - the taste of farm fresh is way awesomer (that a word - oughta be!) than store bought. Do take care on your pen edges, predators like chicken as well. We installed a skirt of that fabric around perimeter as well, so far have kept predators out.

Congratulations on your good fortune.

Did it MY way said...

Not only fresh eggs, but hormone free meat as well. Get the rooster.

Great job on the chicken house to. Money well spent for the future.

See Ya

Western Mass. Man said...

Nice score BB.
Coop looks great also.
If I were you, a rooster sounds good right about now. You know your neighbor better than I, but, something tells me to grow your chicken numbers before he gets back.
That's just me though.

Anonymous said...

Fresh eggs are great, glad to see your com-link is up and you are no longer under black out conditions Big Bear. Hope you return safely from your latest government mission. Satcom out.

Mayberry said...

Fresh eggs are worth it. Like ya said, those white things from the grocery can't hold a candle to 'em!

Michael said...

Chickens are also great at turning bugs into human food too... although I guess we could eat the bugs directly too but eggs are just so much tastier... except of course for those little green caterpillars with the orange goo inside... yum.

jk :-)

HermitJim said...

Looks like you scored big time...and the coop is great! I can taste those fresh eggs now...!

riverwalker said...

Nice chicken house! if they ever quit laying, there are alternative uses that come to mind...fried chicken, chicken soup, etc.

RW

Anonymous said...

forget the cost - just knowing there are no hormones or antibiotics in the chicken is worth all the costs. Don't spend alot on feed either -let the chicken scratch or they will eat most of your leftovers! Enjoy - chickens are alot of fun.

Anonymous said...

Run a hot wire around the perimeter
and it will turn bears and cougars as well. We keep our hens in a hoop
house made from two livestock panels and covered with tarps surrounded with an electric net. We have never lost a hen to a predator inside the net - they free range and sometimes choose to sleep outside...
The most cost effective charger I have tried is a small company in Oklahoma called pioneer. Shock the snot out of you it will. One of the joys of my life is hearing a coyote or raccoon scream in the night when they try the net. We educate rather than eliminate.

Oblio13 said...

What's not to like about mobile lawn ornaments that turn bugs and kitchen scraps into breakfast and garden fertilizer?

Anonymous said...

Big Bear, you might want to consider buffalo,little or not upkeep after the fence and the meat will hold you over for the winter months