They weren’t exactly hippies (my dad was a high-school teacher and my mom was, at least for my younger days, a stay at home mom), but they were vegetarian for a while, and had 4 kids. I guess we were just slightly alternative Catholics. In any case – we had two dogs, a couple of cats, a bunch of fruit trees and a big vegetable garden, but no chickens.
Years later, after being away from Washington state for college and medical school, I moved back with my own family and started dreaming of raising some backyard egg-layers. The urban farm movement was starting to pick up steam in the early 2000s, and although I didn’t (and don’t) eat meat I do eat eggs, so the allure of having sweet ladies providing the family with fresh eggs every day was enticing. But I was in the middle of a tough bit of medical training called my internship and residency, working 60+ hours per week and mothering two little people under the age of 4. Chickens had to wait.
Everything I know about chickens thus far has been learned from book reading and talking to my neighbors up the street. I have chicken coop plans, however, and what I think is a pretty sweet design for a chicken run or “chicken moat” to be constructed from two sturdy hog wire fences around my vegetable garden. Imagine a securely fenced running track for chickens with a veggie garden inside the middle and the great wide world of our backyard on the outside.
We're going to build our version of this chicken coop.
I have heard WAY to many stories about chicken massacres from friends and neighbors, so we are hoping to construct a veritable chicken fortress with a foundation around the bottom of our coop to keep out rats, coyotes and raccoons , buried fencing along the bottom of our garden fence, and bird netting over the top of our chicken moat to keep out the plentiful birds of prey in our area. Hopefully the coop will be constructed in the next month. We’re going pick up our baby chicks at the beginning of March, so we’ll have to make a decision about breeds, before then. We’re thinking 3 pairs of chickens, with different breeds for each. Maybe two Ameraucana, two Plymouth Rock and two Welsummers? I’ll keep everyone posted on our progress!