Chickens on the brain (full planning mode)

Charlie investigates a spot in front of the shed where we hope to build our chicken coop.
Charlie investigates a spot in front of the shed where we hope to build our chicken coop.

I’ve got the lyrics to “Chickenman” by the Indigo Girls rolling through my mind. “Chickenman, hold my hand.”

But really the song has nothing to do with chickens at all.

Goes to show I’ve definitely got chickens on the brain.

Since we’ve decided to raise hens, we’ve been trapped in a whirlwind of ideas. Our immediate goal is to build the coop this fall, have it inspected in December and get three chicks in late February/early March.

We want to add boxwood to our garden.
We want to add boxwood to our garden.

A couple days ago, Matt and I finally chose a location for the coop. It will be deep in the yard in front of the shed, between two large yucca plants. We went back and forth, debating the merits of various locations. Then we both landed on the same space, agreeing that was the spot. We marked the space with four stones large enough to see from the kitchen window. Very scientific!

A couple weeks ago we had more than a dozen scrub trees removed from our yard. So now, half the yard is lined with mulberrry trees (a chicken favorite) and the other side is largely barren and tore up, save for a large oak tree. We have a lot of work ahead of us to get our yard in shape. Our goal is to have a yard that is largely edible, by the chickens, by us, or both.

Today we visited a nursery in Canton, Mich., to investigate chicken-friendly trees, shrubs and plants. We both decided that we like boxwood shrubs, and thought apple trees will be just too much work. I love ornamental grass; Matt despises it. We’ll see who wins that battle. I have a feeling it won’t be me.

Good reads.
Good reads.

Last night I finished reading “Free-Range Chicken Gardens” by Jessi Bloom. It was a great first book, filled with helpful information raging from various coop styles to a list of plants toxic to chickens. A friend  lent me two books: “Raising Chickens for Dummies” and “Building Chicken Coops for Dummies.” I also have a handful of websites bookmarked. I’m soaking up whatever information I can gather at this point. The more I read, the more I discover. This is just the beginning.

This weekend we are going to meet up with a dear friend of ours, Eric, who offered to help us construct the coop. We have a style picked out, and plan on showing him the blueprints. If all goes well, we hope to start hammering in September.

Eric used to live on a farm, and raised chickens. He also has experience building coops. It’s seriously great to have friends like this.

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