The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Fresh, Organic Eggs?

Fresh, Organic Eggs?

stacey
user 4199376
South Portland, ME
Post #: 6
Hi everyone-

If anyone wants to see a backyard chicken set-up, you're welcome to take a look at ours!! Or if you have any questions, just ask. We have 6 hens on a city lot measuring 100x55 ft.

We finally convinced South Portland last summer to change the zoning ordinance to allow us to have hens (thanks to some of you who supported us!) and we LOVE our "girls". I can't really explain how the joy we all get in collecting eggs each day never seems to diminish. It's like finding a little present. Plus our compost pile has been really cooking all winter long with all that lovely chicken poop: the garden is going to be happy this summer. And the eggs, of course, are out of this world. And.... the girls themselves are just wonderful. I swear they've made getting through winter easier this year!!

I highly recommend this endeavor. You can see our coop and chickens, along with lots on info on backyard chickens, at http://www.SoPoChicke...­

Stacey
A former member
Post #: 56
I've had chickens before and plan to get more chicks this spring. They're as easy and fun as Stacey says. There are two aspects about the logistics that I developed an appreciation for though esp. when you live in the country. One is to go the extra mile in making your pen predator proof and the other is, if you can, consider how you're going to water them in the winter. For at least their nighttime roost, use the heaviest gauge wire you can afford. I used that galvanized heavy gauge fencing with the square 'holes' (not chicken wire) and made sure that it was buried in the soil at the perimeter. I also laced horizontal wire to the bottom edge on the INSIDE of their pen for about a foot in to foil digging predators. My coop is in a converted tool shed that's too far from the house for easy watering in the winter. It's a pain when you're trudging through snow with buckets of water TWICE A DAY only to find that most of the water has sloshed out by the time you got there. This time around, I will look into insulated waterers or battery operated heaters for the waterers. I am also seriously considering moving the coop closer to our house so it can be better incorporated into my design and I can stack more functions. I loved, BTW, Max's set up at his house ( the solstice bonfire party) During the winter, his chickens are in a coop that is attached to his house. During the summer, they are moved to a coop further from the house where smells won't be a problem.

Winnie
stacey
user 4199376
South Portland, ME
Post #: 8
That's a good idea about having 2 coops. Since our yard is so small we don't have that option.

Our nighttime hen house is inside the garage and the pop-hole (which only opens out into the secire run) is lockable. The run has 1/4" (maybe 1/2"?) hardware cloth on the bottom 3 feet, because raccoons can pry apart regular "chicken wire". The top 4 feet is fenced with less expensive welded wire "utility fence" with 2 x 3 openings. We have a solid rood because hawks are a big problem here. We also buried wire 12" deep around the perimeter of the run. Here in South Portland we have hawks, raccoons, coyotes, fisher cats, and regular dogs to worry about. So far so good, knock on wood!

Winnie, can you run electricity to your coop? I hate to say it but I searched far and wide for info on any type of non-electric waterer heater and no luck. I found lots of chicken forums where other people had explored using solar, batteries, etc but nothing worked..... Maybe you could jury rig something 12 volt but you would need a BIG battery and recharging it all the time, since in winter it's on pretty much 24-7 to keep the water thawed. We made our warterer de-icer out of the innards of a heated dog dish: we removed the coil and placed it in an old cast iron pot lid, covered with an inverted frisbee, which the waterer sits on top of. The whole thing is plugged into a "thermocube" (cheap plug device) which turns it on and off at specific temps, so it is only on when needed. I feel a little bad using the electricity but I am too busy and lazy to lug buckets of warm water out 3x a day all winter!

Stacey
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