Sunday, June 17, 2007

Arise, poultry condo development, ARISE!!!

I hopped on the bike and headed out to Zenger Farm today to meet up with (left to right...) Patrick, Holly and Craig to put some finishing touches on the chicken coop. If you look closely, it appears as though Holly is wearing a propeller beanie. This was actually not the case; I have no idea what the "propeller" is. A bird preparing to land on her head, perhaps... At any rate, the coop was painted last weekend, and at some point this past week it was moved to its current spot in one of Zenger's fallow fields, where it will live for a while, by the folks from the 47th Avenue Farm.

The first order of the day was to get the canvas stretched over the sides and one end, and once that was accomplished, it began to look something like a finished product, as you can see in the photo above. Here's an interior shot:

Here we see Patrick contemplating the directions for putting together the nesting box assembly:

And here are the nesting boxes in assembled form:

The nesting boxes, incidentally, are where the real action happens. This is where the eggs are laid. I'm told that chickens have a very sharing nature, and that six boxes will be perfectly adequate for the fifty of them... we'll see. The wheels are yet to come, as are the chickens themselves. We were supposed to take stock of the hens last Wendesday, but the farmers we're getting them from ran into a delay. It shouldn't be long, though, and we'll soon be supplying Portlanders with the organic, cage free eggs they so rightly deserve.

I should take a moment here to commemorate a milestone: Macerating Shallots has now surpassed Tha Angry Liberal in its number of posts! I haven't been posting over at tha lib for a while now, but still, it's a big deal for the new blog. Many thanks to all of you for reading. Now go do something productive, already!


Anonymous said...

Six boxes for fifty chickens??? Let me know how THAT works out!!! LGS

tommy said...

So far it's working out great. We collected 32 eggs (one broken) on the first day.

mindy said...

I like the coop design, looks like a lot of thought went into it. My husband & I are in the process of designing a coop. We just fenced our place in (1 acre). Do you really fit 50 chickens in that coop? I thought each chicken needed something like 3 sq feet or they start to pick on each other.

best regards,

tommy said...

Hey Mindy, welcome aboard! Yeah, the 50 of 'em seem to fit in there pretty well, astoundingly. They're outside ranging all day, and when it gets hot they tend to hang out under the coop. Good luck with your birds!

mindy said...

Another question after re-reading your post. How did you come to use canvas to cover part of the coop? I'm on the southern Oregon coast (Brookings), so I'm guessing that our weather is somewhat the same. Our big concern is that predators not be able to get our hens. What are your thoughts?


tommy said...


The original plan was to side the entire coop with either plywood or corrugate. The canvas decision was a last minute one, made by Patrick and Holly, the masterminds behind this whole project. The canvas itself is military grade, and the panels were custom made for us. It's pretty securely attached, and as far as we can tell, no predators have breached it so far.

I myself have some experience with canvas (I was an art student, and having done a lot of painting, have dealt with my share of canvas), and I can say that you could achieve the same results with some good quality canvas and a staple gun. No need to go to the trouble of contracting the military grade stuff. But if you want details, you can contact Patrick and Holly via the following e-mail address:

Good luck with the chickens. They're pretty comical animals, and fascinating to work with. And of course, eggs from your own birds will taste SO much better than those from the store! I'm sure it will be a very rewarding experience for you guys. And can I just say, as a Portlander, that you are so lucky to have an acre in southern Oregon to yourselves! I'm jealous to say the least... Keep in touch!