We'd like to go travel down to California later in the month, but with the daily responsibility of opening and closing the chicken house, it's difficult to get away.
Every morning, shortly after 7AM, the chickens start clucking to be let out of their sleeping quarters, then at the end of the day at around dusk, they put themselves back in the house and we close up the ramp. Really, not much responsibility, but someone has to be here to let them in and out, everyday. And finding somebody reliable, and who doesn't cost a lot of money, is proving to be a challenge.
But we have found it worthwhile to have the chickens. Even though we're not talking about money saved here, because we could buy a dozen cage-free organic eggs at Trader Joe's for around $5, it just gives us so much more satisfaction to go retrieve the eggs in the back yard.
Also, our dog has decided that chicken eggs taste yummy. Twice now we have found the evidence of broken shells on the lawn. So, at the moment Shasta has lost her unsupervised backyard access (which really sucks for us too).
So, I think it's time we build a more permanent chicken enclosure. Something where we could just have a neighbor come over and check on the chickens once every few days to make sure they still have water and food. We can still use the chicken tractor when the weather is nice, but having a house will really give us more flexibility to leave for weekends and for vacations.
I'm cruising around the internet for a while today to figure out the best way to build such a thing. While Jeff and I have never built anything like this, I hope this is a project we can successfully take on. I'm hoping to accomplish this project over our too-short winter break.