Prepping for permanent house guests…and they provide us breakfast!
So after MUCH deliberation and a surprise visit from my future 11 week old silkies thanks to my oboe student (I think she knew that would seal the deal!), we decided to take a chance and go for it! We are going to take extra precautions against predators for our new chickens. I read that putting pavers or stepping stones around the perimeter of the coop helps deter predators from being able to dig under the sides. Plus, we will be putting some chicken wire on the floor of the coop and run in case something does get underneath. The girls will be in their house at night and will be out in the yard free ranging only when I’m home and outside with them. My oboe student (bless her) also gave me a large bunny cage, which she said is great for allowing the silkies to be out in the yard to eat grass and still be protected. Plus, it’s easy to move around. So now the question is…2 or 3 silkies? LOL
I did a ton of research on chicken coops and must have visited nearly every coop site imaginable, including craigslist. I originally found the hss09 coop plus run on http://www.wholesalechickencoops.com. I knew I wanted something with an attached run with enough space in case we want to add to our brood in the future. I read that silkies are so great that many people end up with more than they planned! The chicken wire is 1/2″, which is the best size. Any wider and predators can get their paws in and cause damage. Plus, this has a slide-out tray for cleaning the coop and an egg door. All doors lock and the wood is fir, pre-treated and ready for life outdoors. It’s 79″ long x 29″ wide x 40″ tall. Perfect! I found it on ebay with free shipping and $50 less than anywhere else! Yay for ebay!
So some stats on silkies that I’ve gleaned from my recent research…each one lays about 100 eggs per year. The eggs can range slightly in color, but most are cream and smaller than normal eggs. Some say they don’t lay in winter, but plenty of owners attest to year-round laying. Best of all they are sweet, mild mannered and great for novices and children…check and check! Backyardchickens.com is an awesome site with great forums, chicken info and care 101.
It’s a refreshing feeling stepping outside my comfort zone and trying something new! If you would have told me even a year ago that I’d be the proud owner of chickens, I wouldn’t have believed it. The veggie garden has helped inspire me to go one step further and provide my family with farm-fresh eggs…the truest form of farm to table eating. Home-grown free range eggs even have a higher nutritional content than comparable store bought eggs. What an adventure this will be! Here’s a great article I read a few weeks back from San Diego Home and Garden Magazine about the urban chicken movement (this added to my inspiration). I’ll keep you posted!