Introducing the Newest Member of Our Family

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Marty and I are proud to introduce to you our long awaited and much ballyhooed extension to our chicken pen. It’s been months in the making but that’s not because we’re such lazy folks and it takes us forever to complete a project. Well, not too much anyway! No, it took us so long because other things kept taking priority over the project. Finally things started to slow down and then it started to rain and the rain never let up for what seems a couple months. It seemed so biblical but really it wasn’t. It just seemed that way. The good thing about the rain was that it softened the ground so it made it that much easier to dig the post holes. So in a way the delay really helped us out. As you may remember we live in the cement-for-ground region of the country.

The extension is the part right behind me. A covered standing room only section. Love it!

So at the beginning of this month, we really started in earnest and now it’s done except for some paint touch up and adding some interior chicken wire to make it 100-percent predator proof. Oh, did I mention squirrel proof? We have some of the fattest and healthiest ground squirrels on the planet. They’ve been regularly gorging their fat little faces on chicken feed and scratch. Oh, many’s the time I went to the chicken pen only to see Mr. or Mrs. Squirrel vacating the premises like greased lightning. They know they’re bad, but they can’t help themselves!

Now that we’ve concocted a fool proof method for keeping them out, I plan to see less and less of the crafty little beggars around my precious chicken pen. Our method is laying 15 inches of chicken wire attached to the bottom of the pen boards and extending out at ground level buried under walk-on bark. This also serves as a deterrent to coyotes and raccoons. All our neighbors have had their chicken populations wiped out by these predators, but we’ve suffered nary a loss. We have a chicken Fort Knox, and it’s worth it!

Now we’re soliciting advice on dual purpose (meat and eggs) chicken breeds that do well in both cold weather (lows 15-dgrees to mid-30s in winter) but mostly heat (over 100 degrees for days at a time in summer). I’ve been researching Lakenvelders and Dominiques. What do you all think?