A Solar Powered Chicken Coop
You never know what the road to paradise will be paved with. In our case it was paved with equal parts good intentions and chicken droppings. The road has led to a life we never envisioned, and never want to change.
Of course we wanted chickens. When our nine year old asked for some out of the blue one day, we didn’t have to consider for long. My husband and I had both grown up in veritable zoos, and we had been raising our two girls the same way. After dogs and fish and reptiles and cockatiels and the usual small furry pocket pets, we almost had to branch out into farm animals. Chickens also offered a value added product that none of our other animals did—fresh eggs.
Our original flock was five friendly barred Plymouth Rock pullets. We watched them for hours, appreciating their different personalities and enjoying their antics as they devoured bugs, scratched in the dirt, and established their pecking order. We laughed when they jumped up on our laps to see what we were up to, or flattened themselves out in the sun in piles. In case you've never had the chance to observe a chicken, take my word for it: they are very entertaining animals.
Our first chicken summer was glorious, and fresh eggs were a big part of our new life. Both my daughters had a growing understanding of their effect on the world around them; in the kitchen, we attempted vegetarianism but came around eventually to eating only happily and sustainably raised meat. In the yard, we gave up all chemicals for the good of the flock. Today we have plenty of weeds, but we are happy with the trade off. The hens range free happily and healthily, while eating bugs and fertilizing things naturally, and we know that we are eating all natural eggs. We also raise a flock of meat birds each summer that we process ourselves and enjoy all year long. As they say, it’s all good.
Except for the predators.
Death may be a part of the cycle of life, but when you name your chickens, look forward to seeing them every day, rely on their eggs (because nothing else tastes as good), and generally want to have them around, it’s a BIG drag when a predator gets them. It didn’t take too long before we realized that we needed constant vigilance. Hawks descended. Raccoons took down some young birds. Foxes and feral cats skulked about. As resourceful parents, we took action. We added a net roof to the fenced in pen where the flock stayed if we weren’t at home during the day. We dug our fencing down into the ground so the raccoons couldn’t dig under. Eventually, we electrified the fence around their coop so we knew the birds were safe if we weren’t around to close their door before dark. We learned and we conquered.
By the time we thought about creating a product that would help other families raise chickens, we had years of experience with the potential issues of a coop. We eventually created an all-in-one perfect chicken coop that will move itself around your yard and keep predators out using solar power, and feed and water your birds when you are not around.
A few chickens changed our lives. We believe in them wholeheartedly, not just because they're fun and their eggs are delicious, but because they've taught us invaluable lessons about our interactions with the ecosystem around us. We believe in raising children in an environment of fresh air and chemical-free grass, where they can participate in nature and learn where their food comes from. We believe in fresh, local, chemical-free food. It just tastes better, and we know that fresh eggs will change the way you cook and the way you eat. We honestly believe that this kind of lifestyle can make the world a better place, one family at a time. Our Front Yard Coop makes that life readily accessible.
Get a few chickens. Put them inside. Voila!
Photo Credit: Peter Zander
Forrest Pritchard and Smith Meadows are prime examples of sustainable family farming.
Jonathan Waxman shares his food philosophy with Slow Films.
A group of star chefs play with fire for a good cause.
Chris Regan and Ashley Mayne produce a wide array of delicious greens for the Hudson Valley.
Hearty Roots CSA, a Hudson Valley farm with deep roots, is succeeding by using the CSA model.