Introduction & Background
We're a Rhode Island family of 4. I'm the "dad", Mike.
We moved from the suburbs to West Greenwich, a rural town of only 6,500, about 6 years ago. Our property, despite being less than a half acre, has a sizable back yard.
I had grown up on a small hobby farm that at different times featured goats, cows, horses, and chickens.
The return to a more rural setting got must have made me nostalgic, as I started to feel a yearning to add some livestock, specifically chickens. I knew from my youth the great quality of fresh eggs, the great fertility of chicken manure, and the amazing way that chickens could turn a pile of food and garden waste into the first two items.
So, with the assistance of my father, we built a coop and ordered 6 chicks from a small-order hatchery.
The coop is 5' x 3' and I'm happy to say the only NEW materials used to build the coop were a couple of hinges and nails that hold it together. Everything else was repurposed or salvaged.
Maybe you've heard of the concept of "chicken math"? It's a bit of an inside joke among chicken keepers that a modest chicken flock and setup can quickly grow "mysteriously". Fresh eggs, and even just watching a bunch of happy chickens pecking around can be addictive. There are lots of different breeds of chickens, and you find yourself picking up one of these, and one of those...
Our 6 chickens and 1 coop quickly became 25 chickens and 3 coops. Then we added a duck or two. Then nine. Then a couple of geese showed up. "Honey, I think we may be a farm". The photo at the top of our post shows our first two coops and our run setup.
As you can imagine, with this setup, we had a LOT more eggs than we could eat. We supplied family, friends, and neighbors with eggs. When the flock was laying well, we even were donating a few dozen to our local food pantry. That felt good. It felt even better to bring the kids along when I dropped them off.
Within the last year, we cut back a bit, re-homing the water fowl (ducks are MESSY and the geese kind of scared the kids) and currently sit at around 15 chickens. The current flock is a mix of a number of breeds, a rainbow of hens that lay eggs of many colors. See the picture below for a sampling of the "average" dozen eggs we're getting right now.
We have plans to add a few more hens to get the current flock back up to 25 or so....but we also have a bigger plan.
I hope you'll follow along with us on a journey....a journey to put in a lot of work and do a lot of good in a little space.