A friend of mine on their way on the LIE to the Midtown Tunnel called me the other morning and asked if I had on the NPR program, All Things Considered. He told me they were talking about the resurgence of backyard chicken farms in NY.
A few months back when I first got my current batch of chicks he had warned me that the raccoons would get them. We shared a few stories. A coop can be so well designed to keep out foraging critters that when it rains real heavy the chickens drown.
Today, with the economic recession that may be receding, maybe not -- we are forward looking revivalists. We look forward to eggs, which the chickens should start to lay in about another month.
I also told him about our cage.
Toward the yard side of the nest box the door is a pull up. I pull it up in the morning and the chickens jump off their roost pole, clucking at me and then they run outside to their yard on the ladder ramp. At night, unless I fall sleep and forget, the door is dropped as an extra protection against raccoons.
Another friend, who also wants to raise chickens, asked me how often we have to clean out the coop. He thought maybe twice a week. I told him twice a year, though we have not had to do that on ours so far. The roost box has slats in the bottom. A reason for the ventilation when you accommodate chickens is that their manure produces nitrogen. Nitrogen is incredibly good for garden fertilizer, and I have used chicken manure based fertilizers for many years.
Of all the food scraps and yard weeds (we use no chemicals on our lawn except to kill the poison ivy and I don’t plan on feeding the chickens poison ivy) I figure that whatever the chickens do not eat that combined with their manure we have a compost situation... and whatever bugs are created in the open air the chickens will be entertained to chase after and eat.
So, I heard this joke... If I cut a foot off my rooster and feed it to your donkey what do we call that? [I reserve the right to not tell the punch line.]