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Homesteading - Building A Chicken Yard

It's been a long, cold winter here in the mountains.  I've had a touch of spring fever for the last few weeks, deciding that I should just get a 'head start' on some things that needed to be done here on our little homestead on the mountain.  
I decided that constructing the new chicken yard was first priority.  My flock have a nice, predator-safe coop and pen, but I don't like keeping them inside the pen all the time.  I like letting them free range on the hillside, but only when I am out there (or able to be around the property) to keep an eye on them. We have dogs running through here, coyotes, raccoons, possums, and last but not least, three red-tailed hawks that fly over throughout the day that have already tried to swoop in and grab pullets.  The idea to build a large approximately 500 square foot fenced-in chicken yard seemed like the best thing to do to allow them to have lots of space, almost like free-ranging.  

 With the help of my brother, the chicken yard is almost complete, and the chickens love it.  I do have some more work to do on it, I will be adding some height to the fence, as well as figuring out some over-head protection from the hawks sweeping in.

 My brother working on the gate of the chicken yard.
 I love seeing the chickens come running to the gate when they spot me walking out that way. I really enjoy them and their eggs!  I've found that taking care of chickens is a lot of hard work but is really therapeutic.
 I am sad to report that I will be parting with my handsome roo King Helgar.  He's flogged me several times and I'm now scared of him and can not enjoy taking care of my hens having to stand with brooms and rakes to fend him off when I enter the chicken yard.  He has not been generally aggressive until now, but it's just something I can not deal with from him.  I think he knows that he has his bluff on me! :)  He'd have his bluff on you too, if you felt something knock the wind out of your back and when you turned around a big rooster was in your face.  Scary!  He even had me down to eye level when I slid and fell in wet leaves - he gave me a good scratching, bruising and flogging, so I'm giving him away.

Fresh Eggs Daily

Sunny, but deceptively cold.

After completing the chicken yard, I plan on adding three more raised garden beds.  I have my wood ready to go, but today has been cold and snowy, and I seem to have a little cold trying to take hold.  So, I opted to stay indoors and catch up on some chores.

I'm so excited about spring, I can hardly wait!  I've been daydreaming and planning my little garden all winter long!  How about you, are you excited to see spring?  What kind of plans have you made?
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