Sunday, May 12, 2013

Outside the Kitchen: Part 1

One of the greatest experiences of my life has been owning chickens. Growing up, our family started out with a couple of chickens and a makeshift coop. Our brood grew to include some specialty varieties, some that laid white eggs, brown eggs and colored eggs. We enjoyed hatching chicks. One which became more of a pet, named "Chicky Baby", that would follow follow us around like a dog. And yes, we did experience butchering a chicken and dissecting it. It was the ultimate science lesson.


Eggs collected from free range hens are unlike any you can buy in the store. The yolk is thick and a deep yellow-orange color. The white is stiffer and less watery than a store bought egg. Eggs are an excellent source of protein and when you control the food source, you are sure to get an excellent egg that is healthy for you and free of chemicals.



Here are some important things to keep in mind when planning your own backyard flock:



1.    The first step is to call your city or county planning department to see if your zoning allows for backyard chickens. It's also a courteous idea to let your neighbors know what you are planning.


2. When deciding on a coop, you can choose from a fixed, permanent structure or a mobile coop. Whichever you choose, select a location that is well drained and sunny. Consider how many chickens you want to determine the appropriate size. The general rule is a minimum of 3-4 square feet per hen, inside and outside. Make sure your coop is secure so predators such as raccoons, dogs, fox and other animals cannot gain access to your hens. There are many sources online for chicken coop plans and Williams Sonoma even sells coops through their Agrarian division. The options and ideas are endless.


Next time we will explore the types of chickens and how to feed them. If you have any questions or comments, don't hesitate to contact me at 

No comments:

Post a Comment