Friday, October 2, 2009

back-yard chickens

We don't have chickens... yet. But we're hoping that by Spring, we'll have figured out a good way to incorporate a tiny flock into what's slowly but surely becoming our back-yard mini-farm. Our goal is to be able to have our very own fresh eggs courtesy of our very own happy chickens.

I seem to be far from the only person obsessed with back-yard chickens right now. A friend gave me an article from The New Yorker yesterday ("The It Bird," Sept.28, 2009 issue), that points out that many folks, especially (according to the article) female folks, are suddenly very interested in adding chickens to their lives. The article chronicles one woman's adventures with her little flock, and includes reference to a small coop/housing structure called an Eglu. The Eglu certainly looks nifty - though it's also rather expensive. And I wonder how well chickens would do in it during New England's snowy winters... winter-time housing for our future chickens is definitely something we're giving lots of thought to right now, as we head into Fall and can feel cold coming!

The article also cites a 1922 book called A Little Journey Among Anconas. I discovered this morning that, by magic of the internet (I still find technology to be quite the wonder!), this book is available for download at no cost from Google Books. Seems like an awesome little resource - I'm enjoying reading all I can about chickens right now!

What about you - if you too are chicken-obsessed, or if you're already a chicken expert, are there any books or links you recommend? Anything you've learned that might help us beginners? As always, I look forward to hearing from you!

6 comments:

Mrs. Doug said...

Apparently many people are raising backyard chickens. Our local feed store sold many, many chicks this spring... we got ours from PA, but next year hope that the flock will be repopulated on its own. We will be butchering in a couple of weeks. Some of my older posts have chick pics and other pics of our "homestead". I enjoyed reading your blog and hope you have great success with the chickens. Mr Doug made our coop out of stuff from the dump... reuse.

Mrs. D

Colleen said...

Hi -
thank you for stopping by and commenting! I'll definitely come check out your pictures on your blog - a coop made out of all "found" materials sounds awesome!!
Colleen :)

Amy said...

I built coops out of used doors from the Restore in Dover. It was much cheaper than building with purchased wood, and the Restore didn't have all the wood I would have needed, and then I thought of the doors...though after I bought all the doors for 2 coops they raised the price of the solid wood doors from $15 to $20 each. :(

I love my Anconas. They have started laying already and they are just a little over 4 months old. I have hens and roosters and will be breeding my own replacement flock as time goes on. If you just want eggs, not meat too, the Ancona seems the way to go, especially since several of us, in the area are raising them, so obtaining birds, locally, which is good for all sorts of reasons.

Also, Yellow House Farm has a FABULOUS series of chicken classes, that would get you well on your way for starting your own little flock.

Feel free to contact me, if you'd like more of my thoughts on the subject...I don't want to be a comment hog...and I am pretty chicken crazy!

Life Looms Large said...

I have a friend in western NH who has raised chickens for years....so it's definitely possible in NH!

I think there was an article on backyard chicken raising in Seacoast online sometime in the past few months. Not sure if it had much hard info - might have just been a bunch of anecdotes...but you might be able to dig it up somewhere with google's help!

I think chickens seem cool!!

Sue

Andrea said...

I finally got chickens this spring afer thinking about it for many years. They are fun to watch ~ they all have such distinct personalities. Our ladies are not laying yet but we are eagerly awaiting the day.
I like backyardchickens.com for info.

Colleen said...

Hi all -
Thanks for the chicken info and links :) I'm really looking forward to learning more over the winter, and hopefully having our own little flock come Spring!!!
Colleen :)