Friday, July 13, 2012

Sustainable Living in Berthoud, Colorado

I love traveling. It is such a luxury to be able to drive around and see so many different places. And I love to see how people live all over our country.

After a fun overnight stop in Clayton, New Mexico I made it to Berthoud, Colorado to visit my cousins.

My cousins live in a suburban neighborhood here in Berthoud. They have been in the process of building a homestead since they relocated here about a year ago, and have started with raising chickens for eggs. Check them out!     

They built the coop themselves, and I thought it was really impressive. The frame is built out of palette wood and was wrapped in roofing felt paper for weatherproofing. The siding was built using free fence planks given from a neighbor tearing her fence apart. They were really able to keep costs down this way. 

There's a little chicken door that lets the hens in and out of the structure, and so they get plenty of outdoor time which they tend to spend pecking around and chasing each other. They also come out into the backyard from time to time. The dog is really helpful at herding them back inside the coop!

The hens lay eggs and sleep together inside the wooden structure which has a small heating lamp for extra warmth during winter. This encourages them to lay more frequently. The chickens have a 2-3 year window of laying during their lifespans before they stop, so the idea is to get as many eggs as possible during that window.

Berthoud allows residents to own 2 chickens per person in each household. My cousins started with 12, but lost 2 to illnesses, so now there are 10. They get about 9-10 eggs daily, but the chickens don't lay all the time, so saving a few here and there for the future is helpful when it's possible.

We were able to go in and get a batch yesterday. In order to remind the hens to lay eggs, a fake easter egg has been placed in the nest. Clever!

The bounty for the day...

In addition to the chickens, a 12' x 12' garden is in the works for fall. There's also a nice compost pile already started behind it. My cousins are really industrious homesteaders so I'm predicting their garden will be a great success.

OK! Off to Soda Springs, Idaho now. Wish me luck....

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