We have embraced a preparedness lifestyle focused on strengthening our overall resilience. We decided to look around our little world and take an assessment to figure out each of the areas we needed to address to accomplish this goal. As we looked, we quickly began to realize all the ways we were vulnerable to supply disruptions with regards to our basic needs, not the least of which was our food supply. Now there are many ways to strengthen this area of vulnerability like having long term food storage and gardening and canning, steps we have taken, but we wanted to do more. For us, that meant smallstock. There are several options here as well like rabbits, goats and others, but for us the choice was clear…laying hens. This is mostly because we were most familiar with chickens. We knew that chickens were fairly low maintenance and highly productive, and we are bird lovers in general, so we set our minds towards getting a flock of our own.
The first step in our process was deciding how many hens we wanted and choosing an appropriate coop design. We settled on five hens to begin with, but we wanted a coop that would give us the opportunity to expand our flock in the future. So after spending a lot of time on websites like Backyard Chickens we settled on a general design we liked and began tailoring it to best suit both our functional as well as our conceptual needs.
We spent about a week making the most of the lengthening, late spring days to build the coop from the ground up and an hour or two here or there over the next week and a half putting on the finishing touches before we called our efforts complete.
**ALL OF OUR LADIES ARE NAMED AFTER FEMALE ROCK STARS, SO OF COURSE, THEY HAD TO HAVE A ROCKING DANCE FLOOR!**
Not only are they named after them, our ladies truly are rock stars and are absolutely deserving of a coop worthy of their awsomeness and that’s exactly what we wanted to build for them. It’s name? The Rock N’ Roll Hen Palace, of course! Looking back on things now, we are extremely happy with our decision to keep hens in every way. In fact, we’ve even added four more ladies to the group and now have a total of nine hens. Not only do they provide us with a steady supply of healthy food that we really enjoy, but they pull their weight in other ways too. We sell or trade any surplus eggs we have to friends and any money that comes from our bartering is used to buy feed for the girls. Manure that comes from mucking the coop goes into the compost pile and crushed egg shells get turned back into our garden to enrich the soils. What’s more, our ladies have become friends that we enjoy visiting with and watching as they roam the yards. Watching the girls ramble around is such a fun and relaxing activity for us that we cannot even imagine not having them around. Chicken TV certainly gets high ratings around our house!
Our girls are free roaming, we give them the most natural feed, bring them treats from the garden when we can and we socialize with them daily. We have very happy hens and that’s a great thing. Happy hens lay happy eggs and that makes us and anyone that gets eggs from us very happy too.
If you’re looking for a way to add resilience to your preparedness situation and you are considering adding some animals to your plan on a small scale, I urge you to consider laying hens. Our experience has been nothing short of wonderful.
Best of luck!