Saturday, February 26, 2011

A Life Filled With Design

Photo by Pamela Van Nough

We are the designer of our lives. 

How much time in any given day do we spend considering what we are creating?

I see design everywhere in my world and throughout my life, from my first passion for graphics and photography, through my current work in interior design, to my personal life as expressed through my hobbies; wine making, baking, gardening and new budding enterprise, raising chickens for eggs and compost.

I have been longing for chickens for about ten years or so...long before raising urban chicken came into vogue.  I don't know why I have procrastinated about getting started.  No more is the time!  If not now...then when? 

Golden Lace Polish Chicken
 I have been spending vast amounts of time researching the different breeds to determine the best suited to our location and lifestyle along with information on the best type of coops, feeders, nesting boxes, how to care for day old chicks, and how to keep them safe outside from predators...the list of things to know is endless.  There is clearly way more to keeping chicken than I had first thought.

Enter the design factor.  I am designing my chicken experience, designing my flock, their product - the egg basket, and their new home and playground.  Lots of fodder for though and creativity.

As I select my breeds I am considering the climate tolerance of each breed, their egg production, the egg color (so cool), and their temperament - no aggressive, loud, flighty girls for me - read high maintenance. :)

Our cold climate limits the breeds that will do well here.  No large combs to freeze in the Ohio artic climate.  

The Fab Golden Lace Polish Chicken and the gentle Silkie breeds are not cold hardy. (pictured above)  Too bad as they are truly a treat.  They are not good egg producers but oh so pretty and would give just the right "punch" to the style and look of the flock. 

Ameraucana - blue eggs and old breed
I have also considered the look of the egg basket.  Going for the perfect color palette - mixed blue, brown and deep brown. 

See the design factor emerging??

Here are a few of the breeds that I am considering.  They are cold tolerant, have a wonderful friendly disposition, fairly good producers and are more or less calm and quite.

I have run into a bit of a dilemma, I need to order more chicks that I really can handle.  The chicks ship in batches of 25 to keep each other warm and I can really only handle 6-8 hens, especially to start.  Hum, how to handle this???

My partner in crime and resident carpenter is working on designing the coop for the girls.  There are NO plans out there for great looking coops...what's up with that???  Enter my architect hubby. 

I will detail our coop adventures in future blogs.  Scroll to the end to see a few design ideas for coops that I did discover on line.

Dominique - brown eggs and old breed

Faverolles - brown egg, french breed  (photo by

Delaware - brown egg

Buckeye - brown egg, endangered, bred for the Ohio climate

Langshan - brown egg

Barnevelder - brown egg, very rare breed, endangered

Of course I want this rare girl...

Brahma - brown egg

One style of nesting box with easy access

The girls in their nesting box :)

Very cool coop - would the neighbors object to something so nice????

Nice style coop - note the pull out tray

Just looks like a coop for this Western Reserve area

Spacious coop and run

My favorite - click on image to visit site detailing construction

Here are a few resources that I have discovered thus far:

My Pet Chicken

Mother Earth News

Meyer Hatchery

BackYard Chickens


Check back often as I share the design process for our chicken coop.

Here is the beginning peek as Steve is drawing away in sketch up. Hum....