We Built a Chicken House!

Heather and I have talked about raising chickens ever since we moved into our house 8 1/2 years ago. Not only will it be a great way to get fresh organic eggs, but I feel it’s important to be connected with our food and understand where it comes from. And to answer your question, yes, Heather raised chickens and goats when she lived in Michigan. So I’ve got a good teacher. The boys are excited to help too, and as you’ll see below, they helped in the construction of the coop.

The first thing we did was choose the site. Did we want the coop near the garden, next to the fruit trees or near the house. We knew that we weren’t going to have a rooster, so noise wouldn’t be an issue. Even though the chicken house wasn’t going to have a large footprint (4’x4′) , we did want the chickens to have enough space to move around outside. One day I saw Heather walking around our blackberry bushes about 200 feet behind our house. She walked forward a few steps, backed up, made a turn, put a stake in the ground and seemed satisfied with the location.

The next step was coming up with a design and obtaining the materials. For a little over a year, we’ve subscribed to Backyard Poultry Magazine. It gave us great ideas for building a coop, breeds of chickens, food, etc. Ultimately, Heather was inspired by a chicken house adjacent to Bruce’s pre-school last year. Regarding building materials, a friend gave us some old barn lumber plus we used some wood we kept from different outdoor projects. The hinges and shingles came from The Restore for just a few dollars. When you add up the cost for screws, caulk and cement for the posts, it came out to around $20. That’s roughly the same as 4 dozen organic eggs. So we’ll make our money back quickly.

I’ve enjoyed the building and researching process, but there’s still more to do. I’ll put up the wire fence in the spring to keep out predators then we’ll order the chickens (3-4 to start). If you have a suggestion for a hearty breed than can handle Wisconsin winters, let me know.

Like any building, we start with the foundation.
Kyle and Bruce help me dig holes for the four posts.

The posts are in the ground and I secure the floor.

Voila! Project completed. I also shingled the roof.

The chicken house sits about 200 feet from our home.

We Built a Chicken House!2013-01-02T13:45:12-06:00

Organic Gardening with Heather

Hi Everyone.  It’s Heather here.  Let me begin by saying “I love to garden!”  My children learn where food comes from, produce is affordable and organic, and most importantly, we eat delicious foods!  Freshly harvested produce has superior flavor and vitamin content versus produce that has traveled hundreds of miles to reach your table.  I’m always amazed at how long my home-grown produce lasts in our refrigerator compared to the produce we purchase at the grocery store.  How long has that store produce been in storage?  Hmm.

As an additional way to promote healthy living, Balance Personal Training is proud to announce Organic Gardening Consulting Services!  Services include: siting your garden, helping you decide the scope of the garden (I specialize in low-maintenance gardening), which plants to plant, assessing and amending your soil if needed, and basic gardening skills training.  I can construct raised beds, make your garden blend in aesthetically with existing landscaping, and I can consult for organic landscaping techniques.  A basic one hour consultation at your home, including site selection is $75.  Please call Balance Personal Training 608-798-0081 to set up an appointment and for pricing on custom packages.

Below is my vegetable garden in our back yard.  Over the years it has grown and grown.  For beginning gardeners I recommend starting with a few raised beds.  Even pots on a patio can be a perfect way to start turning that thumb green!

Banana peels, orange rinds, egg shells, apple cores, onion skins, tea leaves, and most kitchen wastes inevitably find their way into our compost bin (see above pic: looks like a BBQ).

Composting is a great way to reduce landfills, prevent erosion, regenerate poor soil, and have an organic garden.

Planting peas with Bruce!

The varieties and types of produce you can grow are endless!

Container gardening is a great way to get started.
Behind the tomato harvest is a pot of lettuce – grown right on the deck!

Organic Gardening with Heather2012-02-29T12:49:02-06:00
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