Well, it's official. Able-Bodied Boy bought a chicken coop. We're getting chickens!
a pre-made one online. Sure, I would have loved to have had the time and know-how and ability to build our own, reusing wood and making it eco-friendly/sustainable. But really, that wasn't feasible and would have pushed this off for many many months.
In the end, I think that getting closer to our food sources is a much bigger step than building it ourselves. As food corporations get larger and more influential, I fear that comsumers - not the corporations or governments - will have to become more accountable for the food choices they make. Which is why having chickens, joining a CSA, preserving our harvested goods for later consumption, buying local meat & dairy products, learning how to garden, and generally have a self-sustaining lifestyle are all really important to me.
Yes, we're going to defy the local ordinances that dictate we can't have chickens. First, we believe the ordinances to be a residential protection for the smell and sound (roosters). Our planned coop location is 100 yards from our neighbors across the street, and not within line-of-sight of their homes (brush and trees block the view). We don't plan to have any roosters. Our other reason for not requesting a variance is the cost... it's a $300 gamble as to whether or not they'll approve us. And since we don't believe there would be any fee (just the lost investment) if we were to be asked to remove the coop and chickens, it's an added cost we want to avoid.
Once we get the coop, assemble it, and place it, we will dig a 6-inch wide trench of sod out from around the coop. We'll get some additional chicken wire, tie it to the coop fencing, drop it down to the soil and then bent 90-degrees out along that 6-inch trench, then replace the sod. With that, any animals trying to dig under the fence will immediately hit chicken wire and be halted. There is some concern about the latches being too easy for raccoons, but we have never had a raccoon problem in our area so we're crossing our fingers about that.
We've opted to not raise chicks and go for the purchase of pullets (teenagers), three birds to be exact. I think Able-Bodied Boy told me that the next shipping date is in May, so I guess we'd better be ready by then! I'll keep you posted :)
So, who wants to barter for eggs?
ps. next up.... a dog?