One of my Chicken-Keeping students, Celeste Stanik, sent me this lovely email about her new found passion for raising chickens in her backyard. Here is her testimonial:
I am writing to continue sharing with you my chicken experience. (I took your class Sept 18, 2010.)
Below you see a photo of my chickens (taken Christmas Eve) in their run, and more recently a couple photos of them out of their run. You will also recognize their (Cool) coop.
You can see I have put manzanita branches around the insides of their "giant cage" They like climbing and roosting on it.
The "giant cage" is a 12x18 foot run, using 1x2 inch, 6 foot welded wire tied to metal stakes. The welded wire wraps around the sides and across the top. I did trench 18" deep around the entire thing and put in poultry wire and drain rock. I reckon it best to demoralize any potential predators right from the get go.
I am having so much fun raising these birds! Your workshop provided me with a great foundation for bringing chickens into my world, thank you. It gave me the confidence I needed to start. I wouldn't have gotten chickens without it, I'm afraid, and I would have missed out. I am thrilled with your selection of breeds; they all have remarkably different personalities and are beautiful. I love the production of fertilizer, the pest-and-weed eating, and I had no idea I'd get such continuous entertainment. They make me laugh! I am so glad to have them around, and they haven't even laid an egg yet.
The excitement lately is I have finally begun letting them out and hanging out with them. Ok, guarding them, guiding them, and yesterday I sort of took them on a walk. I can see possibilities here. They are ecstatic to be out, "nosing around", expanding and exploring their world.
I know you don't recommend scratch, but I have found it to be a great training aid. Since I can't leave them out without guarding them, I need to be able to get them back into the run on my schedule, not theirs. Scratch works well for this. So far, so good. And, again, I can see possibilities.... "will do tricks for scratch!"
I look forward to another of your workshops one of these days.