Another chicken sedan update

We haven’t posted about the chicken sedan in a while, but progress has been slow.  Skipper made it by a couple weeks ago and added the nesting boxes.  Then we both started puzzling over how to deal with the hinging lid.  The last time I saw him he proposed a perfectly workable solution, so I suppose that’s on the todo list, along with trim, a rough door, interior sheathing, and blocking around the top.

Funny how quickly your opinions change.  When we started on this design I thought it was the perfect box for 12 to 15 hens (Robin has 25 on the way), but since then I read Open-Air Poultry Houses for all Climates, a 1912 book on the subject which you can find as a free scan by Google.  You can also find a similarly titled 1924 book available as a modern reprint.  The basic idea is that people build coops too tight, and that an open-front chicken house will greatly reduce the risks of disease and still provide sufficiently shelter from poor weather.  So now I’m not sure if I should put a glass window in our coop, and were I to do it over I would build several smaller more mobile units.  But then again, maybe our design is more suited to an integrated chicken-coop / greenhouse, as suggested by Introduction to Permaculture, another book I’m reading.  Live and learn, eh?

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13 Responses to Another chicken sedan update

  1. Jessica says:

    25 Birds?!!!! How many eggs are you planning on using a week?

  2. Rachael says:

    I can comment!

    Wow, that’s a lot of chicken poop to clean up. Aren’t you tired enough of the never-ending mouse poop? Just make sure you can secure them predators. They ate up all of my grandparents.

    So are you going to kill and pluck the chickens yourself? I’d rather just buy a whole chicken from the store when it’s on sale for 67 cents a pound. Fresh ones will taste better, I suppose, but that’s so much work!

  3. lee says:

    To clarify, some of the chickens themselves will be dinner. Robin talked about the exact breeds we are getting and our plans for them here:

  4. lee says:

    Well, chickens aren’t very good at flying, so we should have far less of their poop raining on our head than from the mice. 🙂 Yes, the coop is raccoon-proof and will be closed each evening.

    We helped my brother’s family last summer clean about 10 chickens. Not pleasant work, but I think it’s important that people recognize where their food comes from and how it’s treated. The supermarket insulates people from far too many of the ills of our food production system.

    We plan to add sheep to our property some time in the next year. With sheep, chickens, and an occasional pig we should be able to stop buying meat from the supermarket entirely.

  5. Jessica says:

    Can I invite myself over for dinner?

  6. lee says:

    It depends, how early before dinner do you want to be here to help? 🙂

  7. Jessica says:

    Hmmmm…….after the chicken killing and plucking, but before the eating. 😛

  8. Rachael says:

    I just re-read my comment and I made it sound like predators ate my grandparents. I’d like to reassure everyone that they are alive and well, but sadly their chickens are not.

    So how are you going to process the sheep and pig? That’s a lot of more involved than chickens, right?

    It seems like we have a budding PETA member here…

    Maybe you’ll be able to spin your own wool and stop buying ready-to-wear clothing as well.

  9. lee says:

    Ha ha, I actually had to read your comment several times to figure out the same thing. “Funny, it wasn’t that long ago that I saw Rachael’s grandparents. I’m sure somebody would have told us if they were eaten.”

    Good point. My nephew, Adam, is a working toward becoming a journeyman meat cutter, so I could always pay him to handle sheep until I was up to it. (Generally lambs actually, meat from adult sheep is called mutton.) I have a leg of lamb in the freezer that he butchered a couple weeks ago. I plan to smoke it on the barbecue Moroccan style. Yum! Pigs are much harder to butcher, and then there’s all the smoking and curing for hams and bacon. Adam is planning on building a smoker for this, but until then we can always hire out 4-Star Meat Co like my brother does for his pigs.

    I’m pretty sure PETA advocates vegetarianism. That’s not my viewpoint.

    Actually, spinning your own wool would be pretty cool! I’ve looked at some plans for spinning wheels online. It would be a neat woodworking project. Unfortunately, Robin has yet to try soap making or candle making (for which she has all the supplies) so I might not be able to drum up any interest from her on this subject. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I’ve used Robin’s sewing machine more than she has too.

  10. lee says:

    Jessica .. so you plan to arrive after the plucking but before the gutting? Great! Fried gizzards are delicious, but cleaning all that green goo out of them is pretty gross. Better bring gloves. 🙂

  11. Rachael says:

    Here’s a a woodworking plan for a spinning wheel:

    It’s several hundred dollars cheaper to buy the plan than to buy a pre-made one (at least the once I glanced at anyway). That actually does sound fun.

    Now you just need some children to help run the farm and then you’ll have your own self-sufficient community with no need for outside contact.

  12. Jessica says:

    Noooo! No green goo!! Maybe Adam will do all the work that involves green goo?

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