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On to the post ….
Chickens are a prime addition to any prepper household. You get a fresh supply of organic, free range eggs right at your house. They’re easy to maintain, entertaining, and it’s nice seeing a bit of movement and life to an otherwise static yard.
I’ve been planning to add chickens to the Ranger Man keep for years, talking about it for so long that people started rolling their eyes when I said I was gonna do it soon. Being so busy with competing home projects, the idea of building a chicken coop just kept getting pushed back further and further. Then, while visiting a co-worker’s newly purchased house, I looked out in his yard and said, “That’s a cute playhouse.”
He said, “Do you want it?” Shazam! The playhouse had already been converted into a hen house by the previous owners, as witnessed by the hole in the side of it. I called a few shed companies, figuring they’d have the expertise and equipment to move this 8’x14′ structure. For $175.00 the coop was delivered.
The building needs a new roof, but replacing a roof is a whole lot easier (and less expensive) than building a coop from scratch. Yes, a coop this size is a little on the overkill side, but hey – the price was right and the porch area allows for storage of miscellaneous stuff. The next step was getting chickens. We figured 6 chickens was plenty to start, and possibly plenty altogether, so we connected with someone that was selling eight week old hens. Look at these little cunnin’ wicked dumb birds …
The gold ones are Buff Orpingtons (med brown egg). The white ones are White Orpingtons (med brown egg). The black and white stripey one is a Cuckoo Maran (larger darker brown egg). The black and white speckled one is an Ancona (large white egg). The hens cost $5.00 each. The food, shavings, fencing for the run and other supplies cost $130. Fencing for the run cost $75. All told, for $335, we’re in chicken land. The kids freakin’ love them.
I built a roughly 8’x10′ chicken run with hardware cloth along the bottom, buried about 10″ down to prevent burrowing critters from entering. I didn’t plan on covering the top of the run, but the as soon as the Ancona entered the run, it flew over the top and remained outside the coop for 3 days. We kept trying to catch it to no avail until it finally entered the porch area of the coop. My wife shooed it inside the coop with a broom. I now have the run mostly covered with chicken wire.
We’re excited to play mini-farm.
– Ranger Man
BTW: Read this Maine news article on a District Attorney investigating the case of a dog shot in in a hen house. What do you think – was the hen owner justified in shooting his neighbor’s dog that was attacking his chickens? Comments on the article are particularly interesting.