If you want to increase your success rate, double your failure rate.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Omelettes anyone?

So...last time we visited you saw a short video which was as exciting as that one you were forced to suffer through in your health class in junior high school.  Yeah that one.  I was going to do another one (mostly because I love to torture you) but the mosquitoes have driven me into the confines of my domicile.
That's OK really because the AC is on and it feels great!

All day long we have been on the verge of T-storms.  The air is soaked with moisture and it feels like at any moment it could let go.  The can of bug spray says sweat proof but I imagine that is for people who are standing idle or somewhere near the arctic circle in January.  I sweat it right off.  I must have applied 7-8 times today.  Those little buggers are so adept at finding that one spot you missed and they just hammer the hell out of it.  Enough blah blahing.  Lets talk chicken.  I love chicken.  Fried, grilled, baked, broiled any way you can cook it.  But this topic is concerned so much with eating the actual chicken but(t) what the bird produces.  Eggs.  Pretty simple.  We here at Bushman's Farm (formerly known as Bushman's acre) are going to raise a few chickens for egg production.  This is a very small operation.  Minuscule in fact. 
I used to take care of my ex landlords chickens.  Every year he would raise about 50 "meat" chickens and he had on ongoing flock of "layers" numbering in the twenties and at one time close to thirty.

Problem was when you have that many birds in one spot it gets real nasty, real fast.  The romance of chicken farming is lost in the first few weeks.  These particular birds were kept in a coop measuring roughly 8'x15'.  50 meat birds.  It was disgusting.  They are bred to grow super fast and most can't even walk because their weight has surpassed the growth of their legs.  Horrible thing to witness.  I could never eat the meat from those birds either.  Just the pic in my head was enough.  I know the ones from the supermarket are the same but I haven't seen those. Makes a difference (to me anyway).

So the opportunity came up to have a few chickens.  My daughter Kaitlin's AP-Bio class hatched some from eggs and they are free for the taking provided you have a good home and a place to keep them.
I didn't want a coop.  I don't want to have to clean a coop.  Coops are gross.  Get it?  Thought so.
So they have these things called chicken tractors which basically are mobile pens.  You move them around your yard and the chicken "debris" is dispersed into the lawn (free fertilizer) and the chickens are happily outside eating bugs and grass in their pen.  I decided to combine the coop and the tractor.

I started with framing in the lower half.  This will be the outdoor part

Then I put a roof/floor on it

Then I added some walls

Notice below that there is an empty spot on the side of the wall.  This will be for holding some potted flowers.  Want it to look pretty ya know!

Then I finished the walls and the doors and put the roof on and painted. 
The open door is where the nests will be.  Just pop the door open and take out the eggs right from under the chickens.

Then I took the wheels off an old push mower and bolted them on.  Added some flowers.  On the back side is a large door that opens for cleaning and feeding and watering.  I will be adding a 8x10 window to that door so the interior will get some light.  Tomorrow I will cut a hole in the floor and install a ramp so the birds can go up and down and then the last step is to cover the lower half in chicken wire and move it outside and the chickens will be coming sometime next week.  Just two hens.  Two is more than enough eggs for my family.

It's been a fun project.  Almost everything you see was free.  Either scavenged from work or I had it laying around the garage.  Every bit of wood cam from work.  The 4x4s came from a large box that contained a turret for one of the military vehicles we build on our campus at work  All the plywood is from the packaging that they ship our firetruck radiators with.  The white trim is from that same turret box just ripped on the table saw and cut to size.  Even most of the screws came from pallets at work that I took the time to unscrew the 2x4s from and saved both the 2x4s and the screws.  The wheels are from the old lawn mower.  The red and white paint are leftover from the house painting.  The large threaded rods that hold the wheels on were pieces from work that were to short to use and were being discarded.  I've been holding onto  them for a few years now.
The only things we purchased were the chicken wire $11, a gallon of mis-tinted green paint for $5, the roofing $20, and 4 hinges $6.  The flowers were even on sale at .99 cents each.
Roughly $45 dollars.  I see these on Craig's List selling for $400-$800.
I may not always build chicken tractors but when I do I prefer to do it cheap!

More to come stay tuned
Buck, Buck, Buck


  1. Too cool! I smiled all the way through - as I'm a fan creativity - and chickens!
    As I said... damn lucky chickens... :) :)

  2. Amazing! Can I live there?! ^^^Anon is on crack!


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