It all started in 2010 when Ben read “Raising Chickens for Dummies” by Kimberly Willis. Not long after, Ben had renovated half of one our out-buildings into a snazzy coop complete with multiple roosts and laying boxes and we purchased our first flock of twenty Rhode Island Reds. Of course they produced way more eggs than we could eat so Ben made a simple roadside sign offering farm-fresh eggs for sale. Fast forward to today and we have about sixty laying hens (with one busy rooster) year round and raise about fifty Cornish Rock chickens seasonally.
As the chicken coop is actually half of a 20’x22′ garage with a concrete floor, the chickens are safe at night from predators. The chicken yard is constructed from 6′ tall dog-kennel panels. The advantage is that they are easy to put up, could be oriented in any fashion and could be moved later if necessary. Because the yard is so large, t-posts were used to ensure stability. The down-side of our chicken yard construct is that some clever chickens fly out. Though it has not happened yet, conceivably chicken hawks could fly down from the surrounding trees.
We used to allow the chickens out of their yard from sunrise to sunset. However, we have had instances in which stray dogs have wiped out nearly our entire flock within a few minutes and a wily fox had several chicken dinners. So now the chickens have access to our entire property when we are home – which luckily is a lot!