Friday, September 20, 2013


I spoke too soon. Ever since we started building the chicken coop, which is still unfinished although we've been making steady progress, life has felt awfully overwhelming. I'm not sure the coop is to blame. Work has blown up, in a way that I can't even blog about. I started teaching a 12-week photography class last weekend, and I took on a small freelance gig, in the hopes that it could be the start of a different sort of paid work.

The problem with trying to create change in your life is that it orients you to the future, which can make the present more difficult and harder to enjoy. But I'm working on it.

In the meantime, the coop is coming along. I now know to budget at least double the money and triple the time you think something will take if you're doing something for the first time. Also, maybe start in the spring if it's an outdoor project. Because if you have to paint, you need the nights to stay above 10C.

The work on the coop has become considerably less satisfying than the initial burst when, within hours, we went from nothing to a floor and four walls and rafters. Now we have to figure out details and solve problems we didn't anticipate. It took my husband ages to cover the ventilation areas with chicken wire to prevent predator attacks. We've done a lot of the detail work now. We still have a few areas of the coop to cover in chicken wire and then comes the worst job ever. Fencing in the run by digging the chicken wire down a foot deep into the earth. I am NOT looking forward to that. In the meantime, here are some pictures of our progress so far.

ChickenCoopDay5+6-8451 ChickenCoopDay5+6-8448
That is a whole lotta staples my husband nailed in. His hands were bloody by the time he was done.



  1. How many chickens are you getting? Our neighbours have 5 hens in a space about a quarter of the size of your coop. And all they have for a run is re-purposed dog run from Costco. THEY ARE SLACKERS!

    But it looks good.

    Now for a personal question: after the hens laying days are over, what are you going to do w/ them?

  2. We got 9 chickens. We eat about 3 doz. eggs a week and at their peak they'll each lay about 4-5 eggs per week. So that will give us our 3 doz plus maybe a dozen extra here and there to give away or make some special eggy thing.

    Our coop and run are pretty much at capacity with 9, I think, so we're going to have to add some younger birds in over the years. A book called City Chicks, which seems a pretty advanced chicken keeping book, pointed out a number of benefits of keeping older hens around. So I think I'd like to eventually have a mix of ages. But some will need to go to the soup pot to make room for younger birds. We are doing this for the eggs, so it doesn't make sense for us to keep feeding them without getting any eggs.

    I saw a ridiculous kijiji ad a couple weeks ago: giving away 4 laying hens, presumably well past their prime, NOT FOR FOOD. To my mind, that's just passing the buck. I want to be a responsible chicken keeper and face reality.

    A local farmer is culling some of her older birds and offered stewing hens, so I've ordered a few so I can at least be comfortable with how to cook them.