Backyard Chickens: The Ad-HEN-ture Begins
Welcome to our urban chicken Ad-HEN-ture!
Plus, a clucking delicious egg salad recipe.
Let the ad-HEN-ture begin
We’ve done it! We finally have “livestock.” Over the past 3 years of planning and dreaming of our urban homestead, one thing has rung true for us: chickens are a must.
Sure, we have carved out a giant garden that will be able feed our entire family each year and we have managed to squeeze in not one, but two orchards. To be fair, they are probably considered micro orchards, but in my defence, the interweb concedes that 5 or more fruit trees is technically an orchard so I'm leaning into it. It sounds so much more impressive than “I plopped 5 fruit trees in my front lawn and made an espalier apple fence in the back.”
We have native pollinators, birds and ladybugs abound. Harley, our pint sized farm dog even holds his own patrolling our quarter acre and e-rat-icating the vermin (see what I did there?).
BUT, despite the plaid shirt and muck boots, it just didn’t feel like a REAL homestead until “The Girls” moved in.
There is something magical about waking up at the arse-crack of dawn to stumble out to the coop and welcome the sunrise with your flock of peckers as they mumble quiet little good mornings to you.
Frying up your freshly layed breakfast and enjoying it whilst surveying your fruitful little kingdom, cup of coffee in hand, is a slice of freedom unlike any I have come across.
Now, if only I could manage to dress up a miniature milk cow in a dog costume and convince By-laws it just barks weird, we would nothing left to wish for.
The Coop Build
We were plunged head long into a lesson on patience and overcoming anxiety with this build. Going with the flow is defiantly a learned skill for this lady. I’m a fan of a sturdy clipboard, tick boxes and a holster of highlighters.
In fact, the previous 3 years of planning and dreaming were finally culminating in G-day (Garden Day), the day early this spring when the heavy equipment would finally arrive and in its wake would be the cleared and prepped land awaiting the final staging of our urban homestead vision.
And then COVID-19 arrived.
The garden and its fence deserves a post unto itself. The head smashing fun that is a half-finished fence with frame, but no pickets, garnered hubby and I the nickname “The Bonk Twins.” After two slightly black eyes, a loose front tooth, a rather large goose egg and a skinned head, I think we have finally conceded to use the gate instead of the “short cut” under/around the unfinished fence panels.
I ordered our coop on April 18th from a local farm supply store in an effort to ease the work load off my dear husband. As the only one of us with framing experience, he is tasked with a significantly larger portion of the heavy lifting, so to speak, while I do all the fetching, running around and organizing. It seemed to me that ordering a quick slap together kit we could put up in a couple hours would be a thoughtful gesture to my hardworking fella since the list of tasks to be completed in order to get a full garden crop off on year one was rapidly resembling a Vancouver Yellow Pages book.
The alternative would be my Red Green style handy man’s helper throw together coop and that amount of duct tape would likely blind any planes flying overhead.
Alas, my thoughtful quick fix would turn into yet another weeklong build between work shifts. The chickens arrived and we had no home for them. My Farmer Friend graciously let The Girls room and board with her ladies for the month of June as the farm supply store claimed the coops would FINALLY arrive near the end of the month.
As the end of June neared and our coop still hadn’t arrived, my chicks agreed upon length of stay at Farmer Wood's airbnb was coming to a close.
I called customer service again and was told there was likely zero chance the coop would come at all at this point simply as a result of lack of employees due to COVID-19 shelter in place measures.
Although I understood this from a logical stand point, my heart sunk. Hubby saw the look on my face as I listened to the customer service agent on the phone and stated with a surprising amount of cheer “I guess I’m building a coop!”
While we sat at the kitchen table with a hot cup of tea and my phones trusty Pinterest app, he drew up plans and a kit list on an old yellow legal pad. We have a fantastic Home Hardware close to where we live and when I emailed them a picture of our plans, they put together all the supplies we would need, ready for curb side pickup within a couple of hours.
I love to feed people, especially my family, but that week was a string of “fend for yourself” meals while hubby and I worked through blazing sun and torrential downpours around his work schedule in order to complete the coop in time for the scheduled weekend move in date.
I have to say, although it was a tough slog, I absolutely love our custom built coop complete with insulated walls, hardware fabric caging, full sized walk through door and Black Walnut coloured asphault shingles to match the rest of the buildings. It’s the perfect palace for The Girls.
The stick-to-it-ivness lessons are priceless.
Egg Salad Sandwich
- 4 hard boiled eggs
- 1/2 can ( 78 g) sliced, crispy fried ham or bacon
- 1/8 tsp dried green onion
- 1/2 tsp white vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- 1/8 tsp garlic powder
- 2 TBSP shredded sharp cheddar
- 2 TBSP mayonnaise
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Paprika as garnish
Whip together with a fork. Makes 1-3 sandwiches or wraps.