According to my mother, the only thing that was missing from my backyard was chickens. I am always talking about the eggs that I used to eat when I grew up in Calabria: the yolk was as orange as the sunrise and the eggs were so tasty that she would often whip a raw egg yolk with sugar and coffee for me as a snack. A couple of weeks ago she came up with a brilliant idea: the area below the staircase leading into the garden was unused and right next to the fruit trees, where we don't grow any vegetables. We could build a coop there! This would give the chickens lots of room to roam around, would use wasted space, and they could fertilize the trees.
It became a family project and since none of us knows anything about carpentry it was an interesting adventure.
Here's the unused area under the stairs where we decided to build the coop:
The bottom floor is made with extra bricks that my parents had in their garden.
Framing the second level:
The nesting boxes:
Our chickens' new villa. Not quite finished, because it still needs some trim and maybe a coat of paint.
We finished the coop on the very day we had made an appointment to pick up some chickens. We decided that we would get four hens so we could have eggs right away, and each hen of a different breed so that we could have a colorful mix of eggshells. It was difficult to find a farm that sells hens--most people buy chicks that are few days old. After looking around I found TruNorth Farms, which sold us ten-week-old pullets. Because they are so young it will be three to four months before they will lay their first eggs.
Meet our chickens:
Violetta, a Blue Wyandotte
Fluffy, a Buff Cochin with feathered feet
Favetta, a Barred Plymouth Rock
and Gelsomina, an Ameraucana
I can't wait till that very first egg shows up in the nesting box!