The ninth of this month marked our one year anniversary of moving to the farm.
The year has flown by.
We found ourselves scrambling to get some major projects done.
Some out of sheer necessity such as the bridge. If we wanted a delivery of propane the bridge had to be completely rebuilt since they wouldn’t drive over the old bridge.
Some were because of the season such as Spring. In the midst of the bridge and kitchen renovation we found ourselves scrambling to throw some seeds in the ground. We had no plan, but, thankfully, we had a great harvest!
And some were because of growing animals. The chicks we bought early Spring were getting big, and fast! So, what was once a dog kennel was quickly refurbished to house our growing flock of hens.
We’ve been so focused on simply getting things such as those done that, up to now, we’ve only tossed ideas around of what we want to do here on the farmstead. Gardens, yes, but goats? alpacas? dairy cow? bees? hay? The verdict was still out on what all we wanted to delve into.
After some livestock price-checking and some discussion about what additional farm equipment we would need, if any, with each of the livestock additions and the price of said equipment we decided to stick with chickens and gardening for now. I do know that, one day, I would like to add a beehive and maybe some alpacas. Pollination, honey and wool, great additions for the garden and to aid in our goal of becoming more self-sufficient.
Now that we have a focus it was time to start taking steps to achieve our goal.
First up is renovating the chicken coop and run. Since the girls are free range we decided to go ahead and get rid of the chicken run.
Most of the fence posts were rotten at the bottom leaving the fence barely standing.
Removing the run will also give us more backyard.
The fence is gone in the following photo and the boards have since been picked up and the rotten ones burned and the good ones set aside for use in another project.
We also wanted to close it in more to protect the girls from predators and extremely windy conditions.
To help close it in we decided to repurpose some boards we took off a pole shed we are planning on tearing down since our chicken coop renovation budget is slim to none.
The reasons for tearing the pole shed down? The center of the roof is rotten and for aesthetics. There are too many structures clumped in one area making the backyard seem small and cluttered. Removing it will help open up the yard.
Here’s a view of all the structures from another angle and what you would see when driving down the road…
Too cluttered. yuck.
Many of the boards we removed were rotten at the bottom. Those are the ones I sought out and had CountryBoy mount the rotten ends towards the top. Originally, he was going to cut that part off but I liked it that way so we left it. He didn’t argue as it made his job easier. I’m all about making his life easier (wink)!
Doesn’t that look cool?! I plan on white-washing the exterior of the coop which will make the jagged/rotten top boards look even better. And, one day, I hope to paint a large sign to mount on the side of the coop that says’ Farm Fresh Eggs’.
The structure beside the coop was slated to come down as well but after experiencing chickens in snow we decided to re-work that structure to be used as a dust-bathing area. Even in winter it’s important for the girls to have their daily dust baths to help keep any parasites at bay. It’s kinda hard to find places to dust bathe when all the dirt is buried under snow!
Plans are to enclose it in some fashion (exact details are yet-to-be-determined) and cut a small door from inside the coop for access in and out of there. They have already used it for many-a dust bath so I think it will be the perfect solution for the snowy winter months.
We got started on this project during a week of beautiful weather and made some good headway. But, the weather has been quite wintry since so we’ve not been able to get back out there.
The interior of the coop will see some changes as well. CountryBoy wants to relocate the roosts and add more. He’s also going to add some more nest boxes as well as a grow-out coop inside the coop for the chicks to get bigger before being allowed to run with the big girls. This will also be beneficial to isolate any sick birds, god forbid.
Since we were able to get a head start on the coop renovation I went ahead and placed my order with McMurray Hatchery for 15 chicks to arrive the week of April 10th. I ordered 8 Barred Rocks and 7 Silver Laced Wyandottes. The hatchery also throws in a rare chick of their choosing so we will actually have 16 chicks to add to our flock. Yay! I can’t WAIT!
We have a growing customer base that, right now, we can’t keep up with. Hopefully, the addition of more chickens will help meet the growing demand.
We love our girls. They provide us with so much entertainment and their eggs beat store-bought eggs hands down. I am happy we will be focusing on raising happy and healthy chickens.
Still on the agenda is planning the gardens.
We found out the other day that we still have some time. Of course, that wasn’t until after we made fools of ourselves at Lowe’s. Poor sales associate had to unlock the doors of the practically empty garden center so that we could get a couple bags of frozen seed starter soil while dressed in our winter clothes. In Florida, the garden center doors are never locked and there is always merchandise out there. Here I am thinking… It’s the middle of February: I’m late starting my seeds: yikes! But no. After checking the seed packets for when to plant what apparently I have until April before I can plant anything in the ground up here. Of course, that was AFTER the ‘fools at Lowe’s’ incident. Ha! Oh well. Live and learn 🙂
It’s nice to finally have a focused starting point for the farmstead.