Life can get pretty crazy here at HQ. With a tall skinny house on a long skinny lot, there’s a whole Micro Farm fit in this little footprint. There’s us two adults plus our progeny, two big boy dogs, two lovely lady birds, a humble food forest, and about a billion beautiful house plants. That’s a whole bunch of life in not so much space!
I get a lot of questions about keeping urban chickens and how we manage to do it, given our limited acreage. So today, I present a guided tour of the girls’ room . . .
We built a run down the side of the house, so they can always access a place to scratch and bathe and play. Using scrap wood and old wire and repurposed roofing, we got the job done with barely a budget. About a third of the space is covered – the area closest to the entrance, where the raised box sits. This offers protection from the rain (or snow). But the rest is nice and open, bounded only by mesh to keep the predators away.
Damian built ‘the winter box’ to keep them warm last snow season, and it sort of stuck around. Their food and water sits on a small shelf inside. They lay their eggs in there, but given the choice they’ll never stay overnight. It’s raised off the ground because our pet chickens have pet rats . . . that’s another story.
The little door in the front is just for them. The whole roof lifts on hinges, and that’s how we access their food, water, and eggs. It’s an incredibly simple design that Damian conceived of and constructed in a weekend. It works like a charm!
Did you know that wild chickens (jungle fowl) are tree birds? It’s true, they actually don’t like to sleep enclosed. When I learned this I was determined to give my girls a comfortable place to roost. In the picture above you can see their ‘tree’, which we built out of a hedge we’d cleared. A couple of hefty branches and the old screw gun, and our ladies were sitting pretty, sleeping perched each night at the highest point.
The hens spend their days free ranging the yard. This spring we built a fence to separate my garden from their grazing . . . which I was ever so grateful for. It’s been a wonderful summer of plucking slugs from the old potato tires and dust bathing under the plum tree. Seeing them living and loving it out there every day, it just brings me endless joy. I can’t imagine HQ without them!