Friday, January 20, 2012

Straw Bale Chicken Coop

A small flock of laying hens has lived on the farm for the past 3 years.  They were just a typical Leghorn that comes in the mail or to the local store each spring.  It has been a fantastic addition to the farm.  I hardly remember what a store bought egg tastes like any more. 

It was decided last year that it was time to expand our little chicken operation and start selling free range eggs.  So instead of Leghorns, our flock consists of 7 different heritage breeds of laying hens.  Also instead of building a regular old barn style chicken coop. Straw bales became the means of construction. 

The outside dimensions of the new coop are 50 feet x 20 feet and there is about 900ft2 of space on the inside.  We built the coop on on old concrete pad that had access to the farm water supply.  The one thing I didn't like about our last coop was hauling water each and every day to the animals.  This was an exceptionally miserable job on the -30 C days we get in the winter.
Chickens checking out progress
In addition to a new chicken coop we also needed a new set up for our greenhouse.  So if you are wondering why the rafters are so high, later picture will show why we built the coop this way.

Probably the one part of the job that I underestimated the most, on how much time it would take, was the plaster.  We used over 5 yards of sand in mixing up the concrete mixture that was spread on the walls.  The job was started in September, and we only just finished the inside last week..  

Here are some of the birds we have in the coop and the fun colored eggs they lay. We have a couple birds that lay a chocolate brown egg.

Plans are to sell most of our eggs through our CSA Eagle Creek Farms Community Shared Agriculutre.  Share families can purchase a dozen eggs every second week.  Any extra eggs will be sold in our farm store during the summer or possibly farmers markets.

As I mentioned above, we also were in need of a new greenhouse.  Not new in the sense of bran new.  Instead a re-modified greenhouse in a better location.  We also had to haul water to our previous greenhouse.  The new greenhouse will be built off the high south wall of the chicken coop.  It will be about 13 high at the peak and extend out 25 feet.  We have only moved our small header house into the location at the moment, but I will post pictures of the greenhouse in construction when we are done.

1 comment:

  1. John, where did you purchase your heritage breed chickens?