These Three Months On the Homestead: May Flowers, June Berries and July Chickens

May, June and July 2021

Still here, the chickens declare!

I have not disappeared into the woods. Or lost my internet connection. Or forgone my enthusiasm for inundating the internet with chicken photos. I’ve just been…. busy! Not even an interesting or original excuse, but the plain truth. I didn’t anticipate or prepare for the fantastic upending of our routines brought by this summer.

As I shared in my last Monthly Expense Report, it was a summer of visitors and house guests on top of our normally hectic summertime activities of planting, maintaining and harvesting our gardens. Plus chickens! Do not forget the chickens!

Next summer, I hope to be more prepared, to maybe even–GASP–write some stuff ahead of time (!!!). But this summer cascaded over our parched isolation, washing away the fifteen months we spent alone as a family of four, necessitating we bring the folding chairs out of the basement to accommodate all the friends around our table.

Just another baby chick hosting a dollhouse tea party

I neglected to do the July Uber Frugal Month Group Challenge, I haven’t written all the posts I promised to (including the details of our mortgage pay-off!), my email inbox is a horror show and… probably a lot of other transgressions. But this was a summer to lean into the season of life I found myself in–the season of family after the drought, the season of warmth and seedlings and baby chicks.

Fall’s on the horizon, my kids will actually go to IN-PERSON SCHOOL for the first time since March 2020 and I am ready to write.

Thank you for hanging on during this summer of infrequent posts, unanswered emails and comments and what I’m sure amounts to blog neglect (technical term).

Join me today on a retrospective of May, June and July 2021–the Rumspringa of life after* a global pandemic.

*note: the pandemic is not over yet, as exemplified by the horrifying surge of the Delta variant. Please stay safe, get vaccinated if you can and mask up!

Welcome to my series documenting life on our 66-acre Vermont homestead, which we moved to in May 2016 from urban Cambridge, MA. Wondering about the financial aspects of rural life? Check out: City vs. Country: Which Is Cheaper? The Ultimate Cost Of Living Showdown as well as my monthly expense reportsContemplating going rural? Here ya go: Want To Move To The Country? 15 Things To Consider.

Babies No More! A Chicken Update

Bebe chicks in their brooder

I’ll try to pick up where I left off in the last This Month On The Homestead, which covered the month of April. Since then, Mr. Frugalwoods finished the chicken coop and the chickens moved in!

Not that I didn’t love having twelve cheeping poopers living in my kitchen, but I think everyone is happier when there’s some separation between farm animals and farm house. For anyone considering baby chicks, I can report they really are easy to take care of (a maxim I eyed suspiciously when researching our flock).

The bebe chicks required:

  • A pen to live in (called a “brooder,” in chicken keeper parlance). We borrowed our neighbor’s galvanized steel farm animal water trough, which is enormous, but was the requisite size to house twelve chicks.
  • A brooder cover. Unnecessary prior to chicken flight-related abilities. Very necessary post-flight unless you wish to find chickens roosting all over your house. We initially used a fitted twin sheet, clipped to the side of the pen with binder clips. We later moved to bird netting. also clipped to the sides with binder clips, because it allowed greater air flow for the birds.
  • Bebe chick in dollhouse bathtub

    Warmers. We borrowed this warming plate from one friend and this warming plate from another (affiliate links). The traditional way to warm chicks is via heat lamp, but those things are notorious for burning your house down. Tragically, that happened to several homes in our area this spring. Given this horrifying data point, we opted for the more modern heat plate option. HUGE thanks to our friends A & C and L & D for lending us their chick warming plates!

  • Feeder and waterer. Also borrowed from friends. Thank you to RG and AL!
  • Shavings and food. Purchased from Tractor Supply.
  • Cleaning of water dish daily (to remove poop-related articles), refills of food as needed, changing of shavings every few days.
  • Butt checks. As babies, chicks can get a bum blockage, which will kill them if not treated. I checked each chick bum twice a day (that’s 24 bums per day). To remove found blockages, I soaked the back end of the chick in a bowl of warm water until the blockage sloughed off. I cannot stress enough just how much I’m living the dream.
  • Cuddling and dress-up time. I read that the more they’re handled as chicks, the more likely they are to enjoy/tolerate people as grown chickens. So far, in our limited sample size (with no control group… ), this appears true. I did not find any research related to the necessity/efficacy of dressing chicks up in My Little Pony outfits, but I can report they looked great while so dressed and tolerated hanging out inside the kids’ dollhouse, doll bathtub and also doll jeep.
    • Just rolling with my chicks

      Please note I am a mature + responsible adult and definitely did not drink wine with my (fully vaccinated) visiting best friend from high school and dress chickens up in bridal wear intended for plastic toy horses.

  • Names. Chickens require beautiful names, ideally names I would’ve given my human offspring if I’d had twelve of them. Kidwoods assisted with the naming process and I printed out a sheet to help us remember. Turns out, 12 is a lot of names. We have six different breeds of chickens and two of each breed, which facilitates the telling apart of the chickens:
    • Lavender Orpingtons (Anastasia and Margot), Golden Comets (Lilac and Daisy), Buff Orpingtons (Genevieve and Adelaide), Black Australorps (Astrid and Lily), Ameraucanas (Millie and Maude), and Barred Rocks (Gwendolyn and Arabella).
    • Littlewoods has no use for these names and calls every chicken “Leelee.”

Chicken Coop Completion and Move-In

I gave a video tour of the coop on Instagram the other day, which you can view here, if so inclined. Mr. FW did a fantastic job–in the opinion of me and the chickens–of creating a coop system that meets our goals of:

The completed coop with solar-powered electronet surround

1) Predator protection. As our name implies, we live in the woods. Other creatures also live in the woods and they like the taste of chicken. These creatures include, but are not limited to: coyotes, raccoons, foxes, weasels and bears. Our coop has to be Chicken Fort Knox in order to retain our desired goal of live chickens.

  • Mr. FW used hardware cloth to cover every single opening of the coop so that furry paws cannot burrow inside.
  • A solar-powered electrified electronet fence surrounding the exterior of the coop, to give the chickens a safe space in which to free range.
  • An enclosed staircase leading to the interior of the coop
  • A raccoon-proof lock (a carabiner) for the main coop door. We discovered that carabiners are also young child-proof.

Coop interior: large to quite large

2) Large-ness. Since we don’t suffer for space out here on our 66 acres, we wanted a coop big enough for twelve chickens (and possibly more… ). This coop is more than adequate for the number of birds residing therein.

3) Two different spaces for free-ranging. There’s an enclosed pen underneath the coop that’s open on the bottom, to allow free ranging under the shade of the coop itself. Then, there’s the large grassy area around the coop encircled by the electronet fence. This gives the chickens shady and sunny areas in which to forage and scratch around.

4) Roosting bars. Mr. FW built three coop-length roosting bars for the chickens to roost-a-toost on. They seem to like these.

5) A nesting box. Chickens apparently like to lay their eggs in relative peace, so Mr. FW built a nesting box onto the back side of the coop. It’s accessible from the interior of the coop and will provide the hens with a spot for egg laying. It also–helpfully–opens via latch on the exterior, to allow for ease of egg removal by humans. This, theoretically, prevents the hens from laying eggs in inopportune locales. Our chickens aren’t yet egg-laying age (18 weeks), so I’ll let you know how this ends up working in practice!

The unfinished coop in progress

6) Beauty. As an appreciator of aesthetics, Mr. FW wanted the coop to look lovely. I selected Stiletto Red paint (which, side note is like, REALLY red), white trim for the framing and a green stainless steel roof. Originally, we wanted a grey steel roof, but there weren’t any in stock and so… we ended up with an accidental Christmas coop, which you know I love.

7) Move-ability. Mr. FW designed and built this coop to be moved. It’s on skids and the idea is that we’ll pull it with the tractor to a new spot in the yard every month or so. The reason for this is to give the chickens fresh grass to forage through. It also prevents the area under their coop from becoming muddy, chicken-poop land.

8) Air flow. Mr. FW cut windows and vents into the coop to allow fresh air to circulate. Every opening is covered by hardware cloth. In the winter we’ll add additional coverage, likely translucent plastic roofing, to keep out snow and icy chill.

Chickens are straightforward animals, which I appreciate. After the chicks reached six weeks of age, and the coop was complete, we moved them out of the kitchen and into the coop. They appear thrilled with the arrangement. How can you tell a chicken is thrilled? Actual question. Let me know if you know.

Cattle Panel Installation

Littlewoods felt the need to be present in this photo of the cattle panels

Not for cattle, for our vegetable garden! We do no-till mounds and, in past years, wire and string strung between t-posts. This was a pain because we had to constantly tie and re-tie plants and then cut everything down at the end of the season.

This year? Cattle panels. I had no idea what a cattle panel was before Mr. FW brought 8 of them home in the truck.

Sadly, they are not panels of wood with images of cows wearing old time-y outfits with holes cut out for you to stick your face through. They’re just huge wire panels. Disappointing.

At any rate, I nominated myself to install these things by myself and…. it mostly worked. I did pound a few t-posts in upside down, but no  worries, you just pull them back out and flip them over.

Littlewoods and me harvesting tomatoes between rows of cattle panels

The panels are like 16 feet long, so there was some awkwardness vis-a-vis me trying to mount them on the t-posts, but I figured out that if I could get the middle section tied up with wire twine, the two ends could sorta flop around until I tied them to additional posts.

One of the reasons we wanted to homestead was to learn new skills. And while I’m not going to be a professional cattle panel installer (good thing since no one would hire me), I liked being out there in the dirt, figuring out something I’ve never done before.

In theory, we can leave these panels up year after year, much like our no-till mounds. However. AFTER I installed ALL of the panels, I looked around and realized it would be MUCH more efficient if our mounds were, ya know, like, the same length as the panels.

Instead, the mounds are several feet longer than each panel. I direct sowed carrots and kale on those mound ends, but none of them germinated. Not one single plant. Which I take to be a symptom of ‘cattle panel envy.’ Welp. Better luck next year, Mrs. Frugalwoods.

Garden Planting

Kidwoods was a rock star veggie planter this year! She did most of the tomatoes on her own! While wearing her dress cardigan, of course.

In early June, we put all the plants in the ground. Allllll those itty bitty seeds I started in our kitchen back in April bloomed into glorious little planties. Or they died.

Once frost was no longer a fear, into the ground they went. We have two different annual gardens–which is to say, gardens we have to plant every year:

  1. The big vegetable garden
  2. The raised beds

The big vegetable garden–the one with the cattle panels–is located down yonder from the house and houses the biggest veggies:

  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Cucumbers
  • Ground Cherries
  • Bush beans
  • Snap peas
  • Sunflowers

The raised beds are the four beds right off the back porch that Mr. FW built last spring. They house:

  • Herbs:
    • Basil
    • Oregano
    • Cilantro
    • Dill
    • Sage
  • Kidwoods and I shoveling compost soil into the raised beds to top them off

    Salad greens:

    • Mixed gemstone greens
    • Hotshot greens
    • Arugula
    • Sorrel

In general, I start all of the ‘big garden’ veggies from seed and I direct sow the seeds for the raised beds.

As of this writing, we’re awash in salad greens, herbs and bush beans. The strawberries are already past their season and packed away in my freezer. The snap peas all died. Whoops.

To date, I’ve harvested three cucumbers, two peppers, seven ground cherries and about two dozen tomatoes. Tomato production should accelerate in the coming weeks! Peppers too! Not sure about the cukes and ground cherries–they look pretty anemic.

Oh and pumpkins and squash!  Almost forgot about those guys. They look pretty good, fingers crossed for another year of Halloween decorations :).

Perennial Foods

The littlest currant picker

In the perennial food department, the following came ripe in June and July:

  • Currants! These little black berries seem to love living here and our three plants produced enough berries for Mr. FW to make 11 quarts of currant jam.
  • Blueberries! Our 28 plants started ripening and we got several solid harvests. These’ll continue to ripen through August.
  • Strawberries! We put bird netting over these plants this year, which greatly increased our yield and decreased our role as neighborhood wild animal salad bar.
  • Cherries! Some foul varmint ate every single ripe cherry from our four bushes, reinforcing our inclination that we need to put bird netting over them next year…

The Tractor in Summer Months

Once its role as snowblower and snowplow ended for the season, Mr. FW put the brush hog attachment on the back and mowed our fields. If we don’t mow at least twice a season, every open field will eventually (actually quite quickly!) return to forest. To keep any parcel of land open here, you gotta mow–the force of the forest is strong!

BEFORE: extensive black raspberry and blackberry canes. WITH THORNS

Other summer tractor activities include:

  • Moving all remaining house firewood off the porch and back to the woodshed.
  • Grading and re-grading our 1/4 mile long, hilly, gravel driveway to try and combat the damage caused by rain, frost, snow, children and mud.
  • Winching in felled trees from the woods to be chopped up for firewood to heat our home.
  • Clearing our hiking trails.

Flower Bed Renovation: Complete!

You may remember the flower bed renovation project I started back in April. This flower bed is located quite close to our back porch and was filled with black raspberry and blackberry canes. A good thing, right? Right! Until the canes contracted orange rust disease, which can spread to other caned plants.

AFTER!!!

As the disease swept through this bed, I realized I’d need to pull them out by their roots. And so I did. I used a shovel and pitchfork to dig and loosen the roots and then leather gloves to pull the thorny canes out of the ground. I conducted two rounds of extraction because the canes grew back a month after my first uprooting.

Thankfully I had my teenage niece and nephew here and was able to coerce convince them to do the second eradication for me. And that seems to’ve taken care of it. I imagine some will come up next spring, but I’ll be ready for them.

This project took me many days. Many, many, many days. But, it was worth it to reveal all of the lovely perennial flowers planted in this bed AND to (hopefully) eliminate orange rust disease from our yard.

Good friends came over to help us rake and gather all the pulled canes and we burned them in the fire pit that night, roasting hotdogs and marshmallows in their memory.

New Year’s Resolutions Check-In

Another BEFORE

This is more for me than for you, buuuuuttttt, as I shared in this post, I made two straightforward New Year’s intentions/resolutions/goals for The Year of Our Covid, 2021:

  1. I will hike every single day.
  2. I will spend 1,000 hours outside with my kids.

As with most other things in my life, summer spelled the death knell of these two goals. Not because I no longer value them, not because I didn’t do them, but because other things took over my mental energy and my physical activity.

The kids spent so much time outside these past three months that it became impossible to keep up with tracking their hours.

It was easy in the winter when we’d be out in the snow for a specific block of time, but in the summer? My girls are in and out of the back porch screen door allllllllll day long.

And AFTER featuring Mr. FW and the kids working on the coop

They’re old enough to spend time alone outside as long as they’re within sight of the house, and they use that privilege every day. I love this! But, I quickly realized it would be more stressful to track their outside time than to just let them have free rein of the outdoors. Go forth and be feral, my woods children!

In terms of my hiking goal, I still hiked most days, but some days my outside activity was funneled into installing cattle panels or digging out blackberry canes or going swimming at the lake. As summer winds down and our visitors taper off, I’m focusing on my daily hiking goal once again.

Solar Update

After moving here, we had solar panels mounted on our barn roof. My full write-up on the panels is here and I include a solar update in this series.

This is the only way for me to remember that: a) I have solar; b) you all would like to be updated on it.

  • In May, we generated  755 kWh
  • June raked in 830 kWh
  • July saw 607 kWh

Woodshed, barn with solar panels, chicken coop and… glamour shed!

For context, in January 2021, our panels generated 95 kWh and in July 2020 we raked in 816 kWh.

Since our electric company offers net metering, we’re able to bank our summer and fall sunshine for use in the winter, which keeps our electric bill low year-round, even when the sun isn’t shining.

This has been your solar production update. You’re welcome.

Want More Fotos?!

While I only document homestead life once a month here on the blog, I post photos to Instagram (almost every day!) and updates to Facebook with much greater regularity. Join me there if you want more of our frugal woods.

If you’d like to receive an email every time I publish a new post here on Frugalwoods, you can sign-up with your email address in the box below. No spam, just emails from me.

How’ve you been lo these many months?!?

Never Miss A Story

Sign up to get new Frugalwoods stories in your email inbox.

We're not fans of spam, canned or not. None of that here. Powered by ConvertKit

You may also like...

46 Responses

  1. Nora says:

    My friends also got chickens this year and regailed us with tales of butt soaking to prevent death. 😛 Never knew I needed to know this…

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Hahah, yep. It’s a skill 😉

      • Lindsey says:

        I am sorry, but this does not compare to my hobby farm sheep, miniature Babydoll Southdowns. The first year one gave birth, I did not take off the tail. It got infected. Maggots housed in the lamb’s butt. I had to apply a purple liquid that stained your clothes if you so much as looked at the bottle. Then I had to have my husband hold the lamb while I used tweezers to take out the maggots from its butt. In my husband’s immortal words, “This is not what I envisioned life would be like when I married you.” Washing the butts of our chicks seems like nothing compared to prying maggots out of an anus.

        • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

          Oh wow. That is serious!!!! Yeah, chicken butt washing is pretty easy :)!

          • Stephanie says:

            Unfortunately fly strike, what she just described, doesn’t limit itself to lambs. We have both sheep and chickens. We’ve lost chickens (even after maggot tweezing of a chicken butt) and dealt with nasty mastitis issues in the sheep because of flies they’re evil! The perils of farm life are only just beginning 😅

        • Kris says:

          @Lindsey – I am HOWLING.

  2. Carla says:

    Those chick photos with the toys are priceless! I’ve been following your blog since you were living in Boston, and I love reading about your life in Vermont, and seeing your family evolve! Best wishes!

  3. Suzette says:

    Thanks for your summer update. I particularly like the pictures of the chicks in the bathtub and the pink jalopy.

    My garden – with all the rain we got in July – tomatoes were few, and the plants spindly.

    Glad you were able to see so many friends and family. Saw my Ohio nieces for the first time in two years, and it was wonderful.

  4. MTmtns says:

    How did Mr. FW haul 8 panels home on the truck without a trailer? We faced that dilemma the other day and failed…

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      He strapped them down in the bed with the nylon straps we have for the truck (they attach to the little knobs built into the bed). We use those straps all the time!

  5. Laura says:

    I don’t really want chickens of my own, so I’m going to pretend that yours are mine. LOL!

  6. Sandy says:

    I missed you, but then realized how busy I was with our gardens, planting, weeding, watering and more weeding and watering that I knew exactly what you were doing.

  7. Traci says:

    Love the chick pics! It reminded me of all of your days of dressing up Frugalhound.

  8. Honey Smith says:

    You should grow rhubarb. It would complement strawberry wonderfully

  9. Christina says:

    Thanks so much for sharing. Your chicken set up is so much more scenic than mine😀. One suggestion is some type of sky protection like netting to hide under. Hawks WILL find your hens. Enjoy your summer!

  10. Raf says:

    I’m calling it for what it is. Enclosed staircase = Chicken slide. =)

  11. Dianne says:

    Phew…reading this made me tired! Glad you are having such a great summer! What fun to reunite with family!
    Our small garden of tomatoes did not do well this year. Out early girls are just now starting to turn. We usually plant a 20′ x 10″ garden every year – just were not into it this year. Our cucumbers have been lousy the last few years – best crop has been yellow and green string beans.

  12. Dana Cipollone says:

    Love the pictures and your content! Im planning on having chickens and a serious vegetable garden one day….your blog gives so much information and I appreciate it! Also, the straight forward, like your talking to a friend, style of writing, its wonderful! Thank you!

  13. JD says:

    Loved the chicken pictures, especially the tea party. It reminded me of the old black and white photo of my sister and I having a tea party with our puzzled little terrier staring at his empty plate in one chair, and our aloof cat ignoring the whole situation in the other chair.

  14. Holly says:

    I’m adding chick butt checks to my bucket list

  15. Diane Patrum says:

    Oooh, I love your chicky dressups! When my mom (she’d be 98 if she were still alive) was a child living on a farm, she had a pet chicken. None of the other chickens liked Polly and pecked off practically all her feathers. Mom cried a lot about that, she said. Her mother (there were 10 kids all together) felt sorry for Mom, so she took a pair of my grandfather’s old Wilkes County Tuxedos (the name around here for bibbed overalls) and made Polly a little pair of overalls. Mom was thrilled to think that Polly would be protected from the Mean Peckers. After she dressed Polly, she set her down to let her run around a bit. Of course the Mean Peckers came to investigate scaring Polly all the more. Polly tried to run and the fabric Grandma used was so stiff that poor Polly ended rolling down the hill with the Mean Peckers on her heels – er, I mean on her claws, Chickens don’t have heels, do they? Mom cried a lot over that, too. Back then, people didn’t know about chicken aprons. Diane in NC

  16. Rebecca in MD says:

    Really enjoyed reading about your summer thus far. Gardens are so unpredictable. Last year our annual vegetable harvests were good, but this year they are outstanding in the tomato and cucumber department. The hot peppers were attacked by deer, but they have rebounded. I pickle my hot peppers to use all year. I have frozen lots of peeled chopped tomatoes, marinara sauce, chili starter, and yellow tomato soup. I easily have enough frozen to last us until next summer’s harvest. And this is all from 6 plants!

    In case you are interested, we grow our tomatoes using cages and don’t prune the suckers. The varieties we grew were Sungold, Black Cherry, Mortgage Lifter, Orange Wellington, Tropic, and Amish Paste. One plant of each. Last year Amish Paste and Mortgage Lifter didn’t produce that well, but this year I am about to cry “uncle.” I only fertilize at planting time, and grow all of my vegetables in raised beds.

  17. Chris@TTL says:

    Wow! I mean, our urban area probably wouldn’t go for chicken coups no matter how we dressed them up, but that was a great laugh! Great job on all the hard work between the two of you (well, really, the whole family!). Beautiful.

    Any vague sense of what sort of yield you expect to get out of 28 (!!) berry bushes? I feel like it’ll be marmalade all winter, ha.

    Congrats on a successful summer. And don’t worry too much about that blog debt. Life comes in seasons, as you said. There’ll be another one where you pay back down all the interest.

    Cheers!

  18. Shannon says:

    None of my cold plants (peas, greens, etc) did well this year. June was too hot and July was too cold.

  19. Marie McMahon says:

    Super cute chicken pictures. The “Easter Bunny” brought baby chicks to our kids for Easter 2019. We made a similar chicken tractor, although we used 1 inch hardware cloth on the floor of the roosting area so we could avoid stocking pine shavings. So far they are all still clucking and laying eggs! We just started experimenting with breeder black soldier fly larvae which compost food waste super quick and them become feedstock for the chickens. A youtube guy “Green Shortz” has a great video if you are interested. I hope you get your first eggs soon!

  20. Tara R says:

    CONGRATULATIONS on paying off your mortgage! Cheers and I bet you celebrated fantastically with some good craft beer!

  21. Angelina says:

    I’m looking at electronet fences for my chickens. What brand and solar charger did you go with? Any thoughts on hawk protection?

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Our fence is 100 feet long, 48 inches tall and it came with a solar charger, purchased here. In terms of hawk protection, the hope is that the chickens will run underneath/up inside the coop if they see a hawk shadow. But I also realize this may not work out in practice…

  22. Jess says:

    Is the lake on your property or somewhere else? Iare your kids going to take swimming lessons (water safety is a big bugaboo of mine since my sister almost drowned right in front of y when we were kids, fortunately she was fine)

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      I’m so sorry to hear you had that experience with your sister–how terrifying! The lake is not on our property–we do have a pond, but it’s not close to the house and it’s only about a foot deep and thus, not great for swimming. Kidwoods started swim lessons this summer (she loves it!) and Littlewoods will start next summer (the youngest age they take is 4 and she’s only 3).

  23. Vicki Lyon Prin says:

    We have Triple Crown thornless black raspberries. So far, I have gotten 10 gallons off of 4 plants and only about half way through their season. They freeze easily. I use them for baking or oatmeal all winter. We also have Autumn Gold golden raspberries. They are super sweet, also freeze nicely, are prolific producers, thornless and will produce up until a hard freeze. In the fall/winter the raspberries get cut back to about 1-2″. We fertilize/spread all our berries and garden with the poop and pine shavings from our chickens when we clean during the winter. This then has time to compost/breakdown and fertilize slowly over the winter. This is a great way to spread the “love” around! Hahaha!

  24. Allison Carro says:

    Is there anyway to make the font darker? It looks gray against the white and is hard to read… atleast for me. 🙁

  25. Katherine says:

    I am very, very disappointed that removing the canes did not require extensive use of the flame thrower.

    • Mrs. Frugalwoods says:

      Bahaha, me too! That would’ve been so much more fun! Problem is that there are a bunch of perennial flowers in that bed and I didn’t want to torch them.

  26. Wow. I follow you from Paris (France) in a very urban environment, near Notre-Dame and the Seine though (so, some sky and air ). I am very impressed by the whole work you’ve done and are doing…

  27. Isa says:

    Cute pics!!

  28. LadyFIRE says:

    Super nice update! Love your setup 🙂
    I definitely agree on having bird netting over strawberries. Learnt that the hard way this year!
    I haven’t been having any luck with other berries though 🙁

  29. James W Day says:

    Shall we speak of the “hard part”? What happens to chickens? When do people eat them? How to you kill them humanely ?
    Could be tough if you become attached to them….(sorry to be a debbie downer) I know nothing about chickens. We have one trendy chicken coop in our neighborhood and they are beautiful.

  30. BETH G says:

    I have chickens who have a coop of a similar predator-proof design. Works very well. But I worry about your coop placement and the relatively small size of the fenced area and its lack of cover. Most of my chicken predation has been from overhead — hawks and owls. I have a large free range yard surrounded by an electric fence to keep out bears (who once did attack the coop prior to its installation!). Inside of that yard is A LOT a of cover — shrubs, trees, areas under house steps. I have seen hawks swoop down right in front of me and try to snag a chicken, and they need to be able to get DEEP under cover quickly, I fear that your setup, as shown, wouldn’t provide enough cover for all of the ladies to evade the clutches of the raptors. Whoever ended up on the perimeter of the cowering chickens under the coop would be whisked away easily.

    I also think having more areas to hang out in the shade in the summer is helpful. And with so many chickens, you may find that you will need to constantly relocate your coop, as they will quickly turn the ground into bare dirt, which then turns into mud!

    We did our electric bear fence fairly cheaply, using 7’ T-posts and heavy duty plastic net fencing for the enclosure (the slightly ‘wobbly’ nature of the fencing also deters bobcats from climbing it, according to our neighbor the Wildlife Biologist). We then strung a loop of electrified fencing at bear nose height around the perimeter, serviced by a solar unit from Kencove.

    I like not having to move the coop and fencing, and allowing the chicken ladies to luxuriate in a relatively safe, natural setting, with lots of vegetation and cover. (A couple of homemade scarecrows and some dangling reflective tape help to complete the safety measures of the environment.)

    Just some thoughts. I only have four chickens, and with twelve, you will definitely want to think about more space for them to explore!

    • Rosie says:

      Ex chicken owner here, and I echo this sentiment. I would often get eagles circling above my girls, and they would have to quickly run for cover. In order to avoid having a gigantic mud patch where the coop is located, may I suggest putting the chickens to work? They will quickly (and happily) dig up any roots and gobble up any intruding insects. This may be useful in getting rid of the roots of those last few infected cane plants as well.

  31. Elizabeth says:

    I am wondering if you guys used any plans for the chicken coop that you can point me to. Or did Mr FW design it himself?

Leave a Reply to JD Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *