Saturday, April 3, 2010

Austin Funky Chicken Coop Tour

Hooray for the folks who sponsor the Austin Funky Chicken Coop Tour!   We had a fabulous time this morning and visited 7 different sites.  We saw big operations: House Bar Farm, owned by the folks who run Eastside Cafe (They also supply the cafe with all their eggs.),  is a big chicken ranch with 200 Bovan chickens who are happily roaming acres of land.  Their coop used to be a crack house and now securely houses the happy flock at night;  and Springdale Farms with their flock of 70 or so beautiful hens, and one rooster.  We were particularly interested in the families with 6 to 10 chickens who nest in some wonderfully creative and aesthetically pleasing coops.   What I really loved was getting to visit with the owners of these contented birds, who were very generous in sharing what they've learned about raising happy hens.  The chickens were delightful: curious, attractive, interested creatures so unlike the sad birds who spend their short lives on factory farms.  

The girls in photo just above may look like they're in crowded conditions, but they had acres to roam and these particular hens were just having a chat fest on the shady side of their coop.

This was our favorite small coop (Morgan and Pat liked it a lot!) artfully decorated with tile.  This coop (the owner, who's name I didn't catch is on the far right in the yellow shirt) housed 6 chickens.  We liked this chicken house so much that we're planning on incorporating elements into our own coop design.

We've been collecting materials for our coop for awhile now, so we'll have to figure out exactly what we have and what we'll need.  I'd love to have a rainwater catchment system so the hens can have fresh rainwater.  I'm sure they'd like that!  I'm going to be spending a lot of time Googling free chicken coop designs to download.   There are still a lot of bulky pick-up days coming up, so you can be sure we'll be out there scavenging stuff to build our dream coop.  I'm already planning to make some silk screen designs for it!  Chickens!  Yay!

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