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Early this year I had this crazy idea to get birds to help with bug control around our house. The fly predators help with the stable flies, but none of the other bugs. I shared the idea with my husband and he was very supportive, telling me to figure out what birds I wanted. After researching I found the best bug control to be guineas. And a bonus they are low maintenance. That was my kind of bird! Low maintenance, bug control, and a side bonus of eggs! The next step was figuring out what they needed and how to care for them.
Turns out guineas like to nest on the ground, feeling hidden, and don’t want their eggs found (don’t let them see you take them). I know we have predator issues, but as long as the birds stay in the yard (once the dogs are trained to them) predators should be minimal. I still plan on locking them up at night in a coop.
I also liked the idea of having ducks. But after consulting with friends, I discovered they were messy and I’m not sure I want to deal with that. So I decided I’d get a couple and see. If I can’t stand the mess, I would just not hatch any of the eggs. My dad gave me an awesome resource for Christmas this year. The Homestead Encyclopedia is loaded with everything from gardening to birds, to processing, and preserving. It even had recipes for making your own chick food!
I designed a coop that could house multiple types of birds and have room to grow, in January. I tend to design buildings by how big can I make it, in the space available. Nothing is more frustrating than getting going and wishing you had more space. It was a 16’ X 16’ simple building, below. I ran the idea past my husband and he was on board. I then let everything sit for months while I waited for the building to start. I wasn’t going to get birds until I had a building.
In May I happened to be scrolling Facebook and saw a coop for sale. I ran the idea around my husband again. He loved it, especially since there was no post in the ground yet for the coop we were going to build. And it was at about the same cost of what we were looking at to build it, even if it was slightly smaller. We picked up the coop. My husband (bless him) replaced a few of the rotten floor joists and moved it into the tight space. I then started working on the fence, for the young chicks, made some repairs, and added the roosts and boxes. The small pen will give the dogs time to adjust to the chicks, and me a chance to train them to come in at night.
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