It may seem strange but one of the things we enjoy most about living off the grid is growing chickens.
Strange that the simple act of keep a few birds should be so liberating or make us feel good about our decisions but it does.
You see, before we moved we could not keep chickens at our apartment, and for Jane who had grown up on a farm that was unbearable.
Yes we kept a small garden but we could not keep any animals at all.
When I was younger, I remember my Grandmother keeping a flock of chickens and she lived right in the middle of a small rural town. No one seemed to mind, and truthfully if you keep hens (and not loud roosters) there is a good chance that no one will even notice.
A lot of towns even have by-laws stating that you can keep small flocks of chickens as long as they are for personal use.
I have to admit a rather fondness for fresh cooked eggs for breakfast. To me nothing beats that freshness. We were talking earlier today that no restaurant meal comes close to what we produce here off the grid.
We do occasionally go out for meals, not often, but we always find ourselves comparing our own cooking, and the freshness of our ingredients produced living off the grid. We just can't help it.
And why not, we worked hard to build up what we have and reap the benefits now, replacing the work of doing dishes and harvesting a few veggies just does not seem worth it when the end result is not as good as what we could eat at home.
It just does not seem worth the extra expense either, when we can do better ourselves.
Actually, I really enjoy preparing meals with Jane, it's a lot of fun and will be the topic of another homesteading blogs post in the near future.
For now let's stick with growing chickens. Here our number one priority is predator protection, from bears to weasels to foxes we get them all hunting around for an easy meal, so we need protection.
The chicken coop itself is built on bedrock, but a good concrete floor would suffice. We have had bears actually tear down the siding off of the coop so now it is sided with steel siding.
The moveable hoop coop shown here is actually in the garden and we can manure the garden directly while the girls eat lunch. We keep them out there all summer.
Our only necessity is that we use solar electric fencing for around the perimeter. It is really inexpensive, portable and easy to use, best of all it keeps the predators out.
Over the years we have lost a few chickens and this has proven to be the most effective method.
Part of our life is balancing wilderness with our own needs for survival and homestead self-sufficiency. It is a delicate balance sometimes and sometimes we have to admit temporary defeat, or simply decide that our own needs have to be modified.
For the most part our living off the grid homestead is a balance between what we 'think' should work and what actually does work, that's what makes it fun.