of Willow Haven Outdoor Story Originally Posted @ www.artofmanliness.com
’m a smart man. I have surrounded myself with a very beautiful group of girls who tirelessly landscape my yard, provide rich compost for my garden, dispose of my kitchen scraps, handle insect control around the house, keep me company, and even make me a fresh breakfast each morning. These highly productive females in my life are not actually human. They are chickens, though I affectionately refer to them as my lovely lady lumps. I consider my small flock of backyard chickens to be one of the best investments I’ve ever made – even though they cost very little time, energy, or money. If you are interested in having a harem of hens in your life like mine, below is some insight about how to get started.
your decision, but many communities are very chicken friendly or easily convinced otherwise. In my experience, there are many benefits to raising a small backyard flock. Let’s explore some of my favorites.
The Perks of Raising Backyard Chickens Some of you might be wondering – why chickens? Let’s get this question out of the way first. Several years ago, raising chickens was something that only people in the country did. Chickens were associated with farms and wide open spaces. Not anymore! I would actually consider backyard chickens to be a modern cultural phenomenon. Thousands of families are adding a small flock (2-5) to their backyard, right next to the doghouse. When I bought my first house it only had a 20’x20’ backyard. The first thing I did was put in a small chicken coop with three hens, which is the perfect number for starting out. The biggest misconception with raising chickens is that you need to live in the country. This is simply not true. Yes, local regulations or neighborhood ordinances may impact
My morning selection of fresh eggs.
Fresh Eggs: Fresh eggs are the most obvious reason, or as I like to call them, “Hen Berries.” Hens will start laying eggs at about 6 months old. They will consistently lay an egg every 1-2 days for several years. These eggs, especially when the chickens are given kitchen scraps and/or allowed to free range, are more flavorful than
How t Raise o
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Creek and two of his lovely lady lumps.
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Megan Cambra’s Family’s Coop
Norman Bird Sanctuary Mobile tractor Coop
Cedar’s & Dan’s Coop condo
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I often act on sudden impulses, and often enough they do not pro duce the expected result. However, sometimes impulses can lead to the amazing. For a while now, our family has been longing for a dog or two. I even pushed to have pygmy goats, but all we ended up with were two Japanese fighting fish lovingly called Ziggy Stardust and Freddie Mercury. As beautiful as they are, it was not enough. For a long time I toyed with the idea of having chickens, and was elat ed when I heard that the city allowed them. The wheels in my head start ed turning, and the impulse juices started boiling. So on a beautiful Friday night, before heading to dinner, I stopped at the local chicken store and bought six baby chicks. With a rough plan in my head and excitement in my bones, I rushed to dinner with our new brood, only to be greeted by stunned and surprised looks, and by whispers questioning my sanity. I began to think this impulse wasn’t so great. But after some pleading, coaxing, and convincing, our six baby chicks had a new home. Twenty weeks later our hens are averaging four eggs a day and count ing. Their coop is made entirely from repurposed wood or offcuts from the wooden boat shop where I work. Our design was based on a Japanese tea/Tiki hut style house, and has all the room needed to house six fullygrown hens. Except for the fencing, feeders, roof, and flooring for the coop and chicken run, everything was made with leftover paint, wood, and miscellaneous materials from around the house. Using only surplus or halfused materials allowed us to save money and get creative. In the end our cost was under 125 dollars, including the chicks, and we average less than 20 bucks a month in feed and bedding. Our hens are four Golden Comets named Scarlet (Johansson), Astrid (mermaid from Pirates of the Caribbean), Michonne (Walking Dead), and Mark (uh, long story!), and two White Leghorns (remember Foghorn Leghorn from Looney Tunes cartoons?) named Megan Fox – a.k.a. Foxy – and Moxie. They each have unique personalities and are very affection ate, are always cooing at us for attention. The kids helped paint the coop, and enjoy feeding the chickens, collecting the eggs, and playing with and petting our ladies. It’s no surprise now that our family, friends, and neighbors are on a waiting list for our hens’ eggs. They love our chickens, and affectionately ask about them on a regular basis. One neighbor even requested to occasionally stop by and visit the chickens. I guess it’s a sort of meditation.
Kids from Left to Right: Reily (neighbor across the streets daughter), Vincent (my son), Bella (my daughter), and Lily (neighbor across the streets older daughter).
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a t a t r o p e c w a e m u i d e ane
esides being an excellent form of exercise, bicycling is one of the most natural and efficient ways to explore your surroundings. If you're lucky enough to be around Newport during the fall, take advantage of the lower temperatures
sb o t o h
and explore by bike. The great thing about this town is that there is no set way to get anywhere. Other than abiding by the posted traffic signs and marked bike lanes, you can choose your own course and pace without the deal-
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Photo by Jeremy Kane
There are several bicycle shops local to Newport. For more information about bike sales, service or rentals contact: Newport Bicycle 130 Broadway, Newport (401) 846-0773 newportbicycleri.com Ten Speed Spokes 18 Elm St., Newport (401) 847-5609 tenspeedspokes.com Pedal Power 879 W. Main Rd., Middletown (401) 846-7525 pedalpowerri.com Planning a bike trip in or around Newport? Visit BikeNewportri.org. or check out their bike map on the following page. Jeremy (a.k.a. J2MFK) with his neighbors dog Bebe relaxing before his ride to Folkfest 2014.
The rewards of taking it slow. A beautiful cut through connecting Ocean Drive and Ballard Park.
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MAP COURTESY OF BIKE NEWPORT • bikenewportri.org
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