Working on our chicken coop/goat hut has been a long and arduous process. Part of this is due to the fact we had the goal of building it almost entirely out recycled, old, and reclaimed items. Oh don't get me wrong, I drool over those fancy pants huts you see on Pinterest, but seeing how much waste we produce in our world, our goal became to A. not add to it and B. show this is a project which can be done, while admitting I wish the tin we found was all matching but next spring a spray can of paint may be taken to it ;) and C. I get messages over and over on the blog how people can't wait to be able to afford to move ...buy land... be able to "afford" to be self sufficient. Be encouraged... we are doing this on 2 rented acres!!!
Last year we were given panels from an old ranchers fence. At first we thought we would use these for our own fencing, but I decided they would make a beautiful and sturdy coop! At this point we had neither truck nor trailer to haul our find with but there was no deterring us. With the help of a kind friend, we brought our wood home. There are sooo many places.... even in a small town where one can get free cast off pallets! It might be amusing to watch someone like me tear them apart, but that's part of the fun of upcycling... giving your family something to laugh about!
Plans change quickly on a farm and the hut now houses goats on one side and chickens on the other. This was not the original plan but we decided it was more functional this way! The cold temperatures at 6000 plus feet require insulation and even heat on occasion. Not wanting to use electricity, we considered many options. Our small farm uses a lot of straw and it is readily available in our valley due to all the barley farmers.
At two dollars a bale, and the fact it can be later used for bedding, we decided it was a feasible way to insulate our animals from the cold weather. All the sides will be wrapped to protect it from snow and weather. Raising kids on the farm means every one has to pitch in... making these times memory making family times with lots of laughter and jokes makes the work go by faster. Building memories... building strong self reliant kids... building a life together is what it is all about.
Animals bring such joy and every time we are working in the farm yard, they are there ... poking their noses in to what ever we are doing. Lottie loves to be higher up than anyone... guess that's the Alpine in her!
Our chickens free range during the day, and so far we have had no hawk or other animal troubles. If these begin to occur, we will come up with covered chicken tractors and move them during the day. However, we get an enormous amount of snow here and our hens and roos don't care for it. In order not to lose too much feed to the snow and rain, a feed run was constructed. The sides and top will go on next... hopefully before too much more snow flies.
It takes a little creativity to use all those pallets. This is the back side to the nesting boxes. Nice and sturdy.... oh yeah and free!
Before construction was even finished the girls were checking out the boxes! We have a few gals who love nothing better than an old apple basket to lay their eggs so we included a couple of these we found at a second hand store down the road!
Happy and healthy animals mean self sufficiency for us! Collecting eggs and milking the goats is hard work, but it is good work that brings much joy!
At this time construction of a rocket stove to heat the hut for our sweet farm critters is under construction... but that project is another blog post for another day!