My wife and I made a trip to the homestead this morning (December 15, 2012) to look at the land after some of the timber has been cut. Now that some of the brush, pine trees and sweet gums have been cleared out, we can get a better idea of how everything is going to work out.
If you have not read the first part of this homesteading series, please take the time to do so.
The first design of the garden and chicken yard called for the chicken yard to be divided in half, and placed directly behind the house. The chickens would be switched between the two yards, with one year in each section. While the chickens were using one area, I would be using the other as a garden.
After thinking about the water requirements of the garden and the chickens, wind direction, and the amount of time and effort to build the fence,,, I decided to scrap the plan and start over.
The back of the house faces north. This means during the winter time the smell of the chicken yard will be blowing towards the covered deck. The smell of chicken crap while my wife and I are trying to throw a party does not sound appealing.
In a previous article we talked about how many chickens are needed for SHTF / TEOTWAWKI. We came up with a base number of around 30 – 40 chickens.
To prevent crowding in the chicken yard, each bird needs at “least” 10 square feet. The more square footage, the better.
By the end of 2013 my wife and I plan on increasing our chicken flock to at least 25 birds. To prevent crowding, and to leave room for growth, I am shooting for at least 20 square feet with 25 chickens.
A 25 foot square yard would give 25 birds 25 square feet per chicken. Hopefully enough room to prevent crowding, and enough room for growth. Lets add a couple of acres (field and woods) for free ranging / foraging, and we should be good to go.
With the chicken yard close to the stream, we have access to fresh water. One of the things I wanted to do was build some kind of rain barrel close to the chicken coop. With being close to the stream, maybe I can pump water from the stream to some kind of barrel system?
Why am I paying so much attention to water? Because I want to have plans in case of a complete collapse of the power grid. After a hurricane passes through, power could be out for two weeks or more.
Raised Bed Garden
Something I did not like about the original design was how the raised beds were locked-in by the fence of the chicken yard. If I wanted to move the boxes around, or till up a certain area, I was limited by the fence line.
Moving the chicken yard over to east, and eliminating the fence, removes the limiting factor. Now I am free to have the raised beds as close as I want to the house, or as far away as I want.
What I would like to have, is the raised beds just off the back deck. That way when my wife and I are throwing a party, we can pick fresh food for our guest.
Over the past few months I have been considering getting some goats. The main purpose of the goats would be milk, cheese, butter and for BBQ’ing from time to time.
The next phase will clearing the brush left over from cutting the timber, measuring out where the house is going, putting a septic system down, having a water well dug, leveling part of the land with a bulldozer,, too many things to list.
If you have any questions or comments, post them below.