In 2009 we decided to add a few laying hens to the farm menagerie. Not knowing exactly what we were looking for, we decided to go with a mixed flock to try out a few breeds. Currently we have Buff Orpingtons, Silver-laced Wyandottes, and Araucanas. The Buffs are the heaviest of the three types, and should top out at around 8 pounds. They, like the Wyandottes, lay brown eggs, while the Araucanas are known for laying colored eggs in shades of blue, green, and even violet. Besides laying eggs, the birds contribute to the farm by eating bugs and creating rich manure for the garden.
In developing a design for our chicken coop, we were very fortunate to stumble upon a hoop-house style developed by Walter Jeffries. The year-round functionality is designed to provide cool shade in summer and insulated shelter in winter without the need for a heat source. In winter, the coop sits on top of hay bales to provide extra protection and interior space.