As we continue the battle against wet and cold weather, it’s time to start planting. We have some starters that are outgrowing the indoor greenhouse so it’s time to turn the soil. What better way to do so than with free (almost) labor?
The girls cruised around for about an hour in this raised bed and had a blast. They turned everything over about 5-6 inches deep and fed on lots of weeds and insects. We want to be careful about the amount of waste they leave in the garden on the field trips. Chicken manure is extremely valuable as a fertilizer, but when its fresh it can be harmful. Chicken poop is very high in nitrogen and can burn plants if it has not been cured (aged) before use. We keep two large trash cans near the runs, as soon as one has filled up, we let it age for as long as we can, turning it once a week while filling the other. As soon as it is empty, or the other one is full, we switch.
I’m sure we get some weird looks from the neighbors as the ladies follow along behind us in the yard looking for their next meal.
Upon returning to Colorado in 2015, we decided to make an effort to provide for ourselves in as many ways as possible. We have always kept a garden when living conditions allowed. We shop local, read labels and make informed decisions about what we purchase. We wanted to see how much we could produce on our own with limited space in an urban setting. We have a 1/4 acre yard that has become our hobby farm.
It all started here…..
We raised three Barred Rock hens from a local feed store. To our surprise, hand raising chicks was time consuming, earned us some weird looks from friends and family, and was ultimately a lot more fun than we had anticipated. Funny little creatures.
They eventually grew out to be too big for the brooder, but too small to be alright alone outside. After finding a deal on a previously loved coop, it was time to start a coop remodel and move the little dinosaurs outside.￼￼￼
After what seemed like months……
It finally happened! All of our hard work, time, feed costs etc, lead to our first egg. It was tiny, dirty, and made a delicious breakfast.￼
So here we are. We are now getting over a dozen eggs a week between the three girls.chickens are cheap. Hatchlings can be found for under $4 a bird. It costs us about around $13 a month in feed, the coop is paid for, minimal energy costs for a heated waterer in the winter. We end up giving a lot of eggs away to friends and family. We also compost and age chicken manure which we use as fertilizer and mulch for the gardens. It has ultimately been a rewarding experience and just one step in being able to provide for ourselves and others. Next step, bees!
Thanks for reading,
Upon returning to Colorado last year for a new job, we decided to become as sustainable as possible. We built new garden beds, raised three chickens from day old hatchling, and purchased equipment to start a backyard apiary. We are excited to use this platform to share our experiences, lessons learned, and hopefully inspire others to learn about where our food comes from, and it’s impact on our lives.