This year we are downsizing certain areas of our farm and really taking some intentional/mindful looks at where we want to go in the future. I feel like, at this point, we’ve tried a lot of things. We’ve raised a lot of different animals and over the years I’ve realized I have favorites and preferences and I’d like to concentrate on those and get really organized around those goals.
We started our farm in the opposite way I’d recommend to other people. We bought our farm excited, eager and gung ho. We tried everything at once! Goats! Chickens! A massive garden! Bees! Turkey!…you name it! We were going to have a full working farm overnight!
And while that time in our life was exciting, I’ve learned over the years that there are breeds of animals, varieties of plants and specific farm ventures that I enjoy more than others.
So we are slowly narrowing in on what breeds and things we want to focus on. If I had to do it over again, I’d start small with one venture at a time…really master that thing before I added another. But you live and learn.
We cut our garden in half and are only concentrating on our favorite vegetables. I devoted almost half the garden to squashed and pumpkins…my favorite… and I plan on devoting even more next year.
Instead of having a coop filled with a mixture of chickens I want to really concentrate on one or two breeds. Each year it gets better and better and I’m really excited where we are this year. I have a quality vs quantity mindset and things are getting shifted around to reflect that.
One of the best decisions I’ve made with our chicken area is cutting our large shed-style coop in half. It was a hard thing to do because that valuable space could have held more chickens. But in the end I’m so happy we did it!
I know a lot of you have a shed style coop like ours. You may have bought a manufactured kit-type shed, built it yourself from scratch or perhaps you already have a shed-type outbuilding on your property that you use, or plan to use for your chicken coop.
I really encourage you, if you also have a walk-in-room type coop to fence off some of the space for storage.
We spit our 10’X12’ shed in half giving our Buff Orpingtons the back half connected to the run and the front half we use for brooders, feed bins, and supplies.
We used 2X4 frames with chicken wire and hardware cloth to create the division. This allows lots of ventilation and keeps the area looking large.
Things I love about this set up!
- It’s half as much coop to clean. Cleaning out that gigantic space took all afternoon. We also save on bedding costs as it takes half as much to cover the floor.
- Our brooders are always set up. If I go to the feed store and they have chicks in I am always prepared.
- The feed is easy to distribute, it stays out of the weather and the containers don’t get pooped on or used as roosts.
- It gives me a buffer space between the large double doors and the flock which helps me keep the chickens in their pen. I also have a buffer space where if a chicken escapes, I can close the double doors and wrangle them back in the chicken wire area.
- It gives me a nice little place to hang out with the chickens. It’s especially fun with thunderstorms.
I have shelves for chicken supplies like supplements, a small collection of tools that I often use in the coops, NPIP testing kit, extra bulbs for the brooders, leg bands etc. an extra spool of wire.
It can also hold extra bags of feed.
I keep our feed in these plastic feed bins from Rural King. They have a snap lid and the containers make a good table type work surface.
I also have a few hooks to hang my bucket to freshen up the nesting material and to hold the egg basket.
I keep a broom and a garbage pail just for the chicken coop. It’s amazing how this simple addition keeps things clean.
I also keep some cleaning supplies like cheap dish soap, sponges and cleaning spray. I can use this to clean feeders or to wash my hands with the hose.