Those of you in the Portland area who are interested in starting a chicken coop, you might want to give Rhonda, from Just Us Hens, a call. It all started over conversations between friends who harbored a love for chickens and gardening. Rhonda and Sharon came up with the idea of a business that provides chicken sitting, consults, and other services such as wing clipping and coop cleaning. Ingenious, right?! If fresh eggs and sweet chicks are something of interest to you, don’t be daunted by the task of building and maintaining a coop. With knowledgable women like Rhonda and Sharon around to provide help and advice, it’s a more feasible task.
Rhonda’s work gear: Carhartt Women’s Mountrail Jacket, Annapolis Shirt, Kenmare Henley, Relaxed-Fit Denim Jasper Jean, & C-Grip Knuckler Glove
When there are obstacles standing before passions, the Carhartt woman does what it takes to break them down. Laura Mikulski moved to Ferndale, MI in 2006. As an organic gardener, the draw of keeping chickens seemed very alluring. They eat bugs and provide fertilizers. You can also rest assured that the flock is well cared for and their eggs are healthy to eat.
Laura’s planning and preparation led to the realization that there were municipal ordinances against keeping backyard chickens. (i.e. residents were not authorized to keep fowl within a distance of 150 ft from any building) That was outrageous to Laura. In hopes that it would be an educational experience for the city, she looked for a way to amend these restrictions. Laura researched the plat maps and contacted the city’s assessor to find out how many properties would be eligible to keep fowl under the current ordinance. The results were shocking; there were so few properties eligible, that the regulation may as well have outlawed anyone from keeping chickens in city limits.
Laura reached out to Ferndale’s city council members and city workers to start the conversation. Several officials responded favorably, and the ball started rolling. Her fight for backyard chickens gained even more momentum when her work began winning over the locals. Ultimately, her appeals weren’t granted until 2012 when the ordinance was amended. She was the first to submit paperwork and have her coop inspected.
It was a long road to her ultimate goal, but now she and her hens can live happily ever after. If you’re in the Ferndale or metro Detroit area, keep up with Laura here.
For any of you that are looking into raising chickens of your own, Laura advises research and more research. Read as much as you can. Glean knowledge from online articles and blogs. Here’s a good starter kit of first aid care for your own little flock:
- Wazine: a wormer, for emergency purposes. Some people recommend worming twice per year, but chickens often develop a natural resistance to these pests- use this only if necessary after a fecal test.
- Tetracycline Hydrochloride: an general antibiotic for use primarily when you notice respiratory issues or ‘headcold-like’ symptoms
- Sav-a-chick Electrolytes: crucial for when weather gets very hot, or when dealing with an ill bird
- Flexible wrap: get the kind that sticks to itself, for use in holding bandages in place if a bird gets injured
- Gauze pads: for injuries
- Wound wash: be sure to get one without pain relievers, as those are toxic to birds
- Activated charcoal: for symptoms of poisoning
- Providone Iodine ointment: a substitute for things like neosporin, for injuries–great antibacterial ointment
- Blu-Kote: germicidal fungicidal wound dressing. Crucial for a chicken kit- when chickens see red or blood associated with an injury, they will peck at it, and can turn cannibalistic if they’re not stopped. BluKote turns the wound area dark blue-purple, which immediately stops the other hens from picking at an injury.
- Rubbing alcohol: sterlizing
- Hydrogen peroxide: wound cleaning/debriding
- Styptic powder with no pain relievers: for staunching blood flow, but be sure it does not have pain relievers in there, as most that are used with dogs do
- NuStock: ointment used for burns and skin disorders
- Medical scissors: for cutting dressings and feathers around a wound site
- Epsom salts: for soaking when the hen is egg bound or needs a site cleaned
- Superglue: for repairing a broken beak (it does happen)
- Tweezers: for pulling splinters
- Nutrient drench: for sick hens to revitalize and regain energy
- Probiotics: for use after antibiotics
- Gloves: for when things get messy
- Book: The Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow, contains tons of information on disease, illness, and malnutrition including symptoms and treatment
The proper workwear is also essential when tending to your flock. Take a look at Laura’s look: Carhartt Women’s Kenmare Henley, Women’s Huron Shirt, Relaxed-Fit Denim Jasper Jean, El Paso Utility Jacket, & C-Grip Knuckler Glove.
This is the time of year for recollecting and being with loved ones. It’s the season for taking a look at your life and feeling grateful. Perhaps it’s just the right time to rethink your approach to everyday. Maybe we don’t need all the odds and ends we wrap up and give to each other. Maybe we just need to take a deep breath, enjoy the nature around us, and connect with the people that mean the most to us.
Last week, I drove through snow and ice to meet up with Suzy Clark at her winter paradise. She and her husband run a 10 acre plot of field and forest called Sterling Homestead. They grow organic fruits and veggies, which they sell through CSA and local markets, and preserve their harvest during the winter months. Suzy and Joseph live almost entirely off the grid with solar power, wood heat, and no running water in their charming cabin.
Without the distractions of television, internet, and cell phones, there is a sense of peace that exudes from warmth of their home. Over a cup of coffee and the smell of baking bread, Suzy and I chatted about the ins and outs of leading a more sustainable life. Their interest in permaculture practices (that’s environmental design that develops sustainable agriculture modeled after natural ecosystems) has taught them so much. What can you learn from taking a peak into Suzy’s everyday? Maybe we all could take some time to disconnect with technology for a bit and really link in to the immediate world around us.
Check out the winter work outfit that keeps Suzy warm during the bone chilling Wisconsin winter: Carhartt Women’s Sandstone Kenai Parka, Women’s Series 1989 Slim Double Front Dungaree, Force Performance Quarter-Zip Shirt, & Women’s Quilt’s Glove.
Chicken coops are getting really popular in both rural and urban areas. There are so many benefits to starting your own. The chickens are entertaining pets that can also help teach lessons of responsibility to kids and grown ups alike. The eggs they yield are so much healthier and tastier than most eggs you can buy in the store. Chickens can help reduce waste in your household. The fruit and veggie left overs that you would normally throw out can be great food for your new pets. You can also add chicken droppings to your compost to make your garden green. Here area few tips to help you get started:
- When it comes to building a chicken coop, be creative. There are an endless amount of supplies you can use. This is a great time to up-cylce.
- As far as the sizing of your coop, be sure to allow enough space. Generally, 2 to 3 sq. ft. per chicken is a good amount. Also, make sure that humans can fit into the space so you’re able to clean and care for the clutch.
- You’ll need a separate area for feeding, roosting, and laying eggs. For cleanliness sake, leave enough distance between the food and roosting spot to keep manure out of the feed.
- You need at least 1 nesting box for every 4 or 5 chickens. Place the box a few feet off of the ground and fill the bottom with straw. (12x12x12 is a good size)
- One of the most important aspects of a coop is keeping your brood safe. Make sure the walls, doors, and windows are impenetrable to predators.
- Good air circulation is key. Either use strong fencing for the walls or have a few windows with strong wire over it. That way air can move around, but critters can’t get in and out.
- Chickens like dust baths. For this, all you need is a large litter pan. Fill it with wood ash and they’ll have a blast.
- If winters get below freezing where you are, investing in heaters is a good option.
- Decide which breed you want. Here are a few productive types: Leghorns, Rhode Island Reds, Australorps and Orpingtons.
- Clean the coop regularly and enjoy the fresh eggs!
Check out Jenny’s outfit here: Carhartt Women’s Rowlesburg Sweatshirt, Original-Fit Canvas Crawford Dungaree, & Longsleeve Signature T-Shirt
Jenny and Megan’s interest in farming began as a curiosity about where their food came from. That curiosity has led them all the way to running their very own farm with organically-grown produce. Jenny and Megan also raise pastured pork and poultry for eggs and meat. Able Farms, just outside of Portland on Sauvie Island, is a picturesque piece of land with limitless potential. The girls are making their way towards creating a self-sustaining agricultural community, teaching themselves new skills as they go. I have mad respect for Jenny and Megan. They’re making such great progress in a field they didn’t know much about in the beginning. That’s girl power right there. No obstacle is too big when you put your mind and heart into something.
shop the girls’ looks here: Jenny: basil Fargo jacket, double fronts, Carhartt hat Megan: blue sandstone active jacket, Cheyenne shirt, double fronts, Carhartt hat
Here’s a peek into dinner time at the Boswell’s ranch. I have so many fond memories of spending time with this great family. This is the exact spot where I wore Carhartt for the first time. We were going out for a late night four-wheeling adventure, and we needed something to keep us warm. Hanging out at the Boswell’s house always means it’s time to wear Carhartt. From feeding animals, to running the dogs, to horse riding in the back pasture. Is your home the kind of place that requires Carhartt?