Decorating & Design

Decorating & Design
Designers Richard Ouellette and Maxime Vandal of Les Ensembliers keep chickens (as well as bees) on their sustainable vegetable and flower farm in Quebec’s Eastern Townships, Humming Hill Farm. “Chickens are a long term commitment, they will live a few years, they should not be perceived as a disposable project that we start in spring and terminate in fall. They are very intelligent and have their own personality —you will create a strong emotional bond with them,” says Maxime. Get his advice below:

Coop Size: “The size of the coop depends of the outdoor space available for the chicken. Four square feet per chick is good. You may squeeze one or two more when you start because they are smaller and you may get mortality over your first year. We use PVC panels inside, they are easy to maintain and good for their health, and put wood chips on the floor of the coop. An automatic motorized door is very useful: it works with natural day light and removes you from the burden of going there twice a day.”

Breed Selection: “We have Chantecler chickens, a heritage Quebec breed that is adapted to winter, produces a good amount of eggs (200 eggs per chick) and is part of our culture and history. The breed was almost instinct 30 years ago and local farmers are trying to keep it alive. We have 10 chicken and two roosters. They go outside every day and we visit them every day. If you have a rooster, the rooster will yell if there is a problem.”



Protection: “Fencing is the most expensive and required element to make your endeavour a success. The foxes, raccoons, and even coyotes smell them from a distance and during the spring and late fall when there is less food in the forest, they are very inventive to get in the coop.”

Winter Care: “We have heated lamps, a heated water station, and a little back-up heater. The challenge is when you lose power, those babies can’t stay in cold too long. We clean every second week because they spend most of their time outside. They have a neoclassical antique wall fountain that we saved from another project. They take baths in it!”

Source: House&Home : Decorating & Design


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