Posts Tagged Chicken

More Chicken Tips and Resources

I’d add one more tip which comes from my research about the chicken respiratory system.  They exhale a lot more moisture than humans.  So don’t coddle your chickens.  It’s fine to love them like pets, but when it comes to temperature, they do much better and are much healthier if you think of them as wild birds and let them adjust to the colder and even freezing temperatures which nature has designed for them to handle.

Unlike most coops which are totally closed boxes and promote chicken diseases from lack of fresh air and excessive chicken out breath moisture, ours have an open front, and this is the best for winter too.  A chicken will only have problems with drafts if it hasn’t been allowed to grow a winter coat of feathers, and they will if allowed to naturally adjust to the seasonal changes.  Just increase their feed if you observe them eating more in cold weather.  Chickens that are hardy like this will lay more eggs in winter too.

Here are some chicken info websites:  (Feed suggestions) has a decent breed selector and some how-to guides

Please feel free to ask any questions and we look forward to helping you.

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15 Chicken Tips

What we have learned about raising backyard chickens for eggs and pets

This info provided from kitchen table wisdom of new chicken owners.

1.  Chickens are legal in Fairfax as long as they are 25 feet away from your neighbor’s window or door.   For goats you need 200 feet.  Check your  local ordinance.

2.  For chicken starters, what you need is a brooder box, depending on how old the chicks are when you get them.  Basics include big box, heat lamp, temperature gauge, wood shavings, waterer, food tray, and starter crumble.  You have about 6 weeks to get your coop together once you get your birds.

3.  When we picked ours out one had pasty butt.  It ended up being OK but it was always small and we were afraid we would lose her. If I had  it to do over again, I would have chosen another chick.

4.  Baby chicks are high maintenance-they need a bigger box than you think, really good temperature control, they constantly knock over water and food and they can get out of any box without a lid.  And you have to check them for pasty butt.  If they have it, you have to tear it off, and they don’t like that. If you start at even 5-8 weeks you get good chick time without much of the work.

5.  Having less than three chickens is not ok for their social structure.  Chickens really love to free range.  Provide a secure place for them to do so.

6.   Chickens start laying when they are 5 months old and keep laying for up to 5 years, they can live to be 8-9 years old.

7.  A happy hen will lay one egg a day during the spring, summer and fall.  They slow down in the winter and when they molt-that means they lose some feathers and look a bit raggedy.

8.   You  don’t need a rooster to get your hens to lay eggs.  This is one of the most frequently asked questions.  Roosters can defend the flock but they can also make a lot of noise and can beat up on the ladies.

9.  Straight run means you will get a mix of hens and roosters, a  Bantam is just a smaller chicken, and a pullet is a young lady chicken.

10.  A balanced  chicken diet includes scratch grains, layer crumble, oyster shells for strong shells, decomposed granite for  clearing crop.  We feed scratch on the ground and crumble in a tin attached to the wall of the fence and mix the oyster and granite in a separate feed bowl.  Water must be available at all times.

11.  Chickens need space to run free.  Or they start pecking each other a  lot.

12.  To stop them from flying over the fence you can clip the top 2-3 inches of feathers on ONE wing only.  The point is to put them off balance so they can only fly in circles.  Do this every 6 months if your chickens free range.

13.  Predators-Hawks will pick up young chickens, raccoons will dig under a coop and kill chickens.  Bobcats, mountain lions, coyote, and fox can smell a nice tasty chick from a mile away.  Secure everything.

14.  On  hot days provide good shade and water.  If they are panting provide ice blocks.                                                                                                  

15.  Learn to do a health check–From Kamin my 11 year old chicken checker.

a.  Feel  their bellies to check if there are eggs getting bound up.  If you feel more than three eggs, you may have to extract manually.  Yep.  We have never had to.

b.  Feel around their crop or throat.  If it is bulgy or hard your chick needs grit in the form of decomposed granite.

c.  Check wings to see if they extend and flap normally, check to see how the clipping is doing.  Note if feathers are growing out.

d.  Look for any mites or bugs on the skin.  Chickens need fluffy dry dirt to dust bath in order to keep their skin healthy.


Chickens in Your Backyard-A Beginner’s Guide by Rick and Gail Luttmann

Living with Chickens-Everything You Need to Know to Raise Your Own Backyard Flock by Jay Rossier, Geoff Hansen and American Poultry Association

Purchase your supplies at Toby’s Feed Barn in Pt. Reyes Station, or at Rivertown Pets in Petaluma-both sell baby chicks.   Joan the Chicken Queen of Petaluma on Craig’s list also has chicks and older birds (  Marin Tack and Feed in Fairfax and Redhill Pets in San Rafael carry some supplies and are happy to order them for you.

I recommend Red Hill Pet Center for organic chicken crumbles.  Find what brand of feed you want and then speak with the owner, Elvis, who specializes in special orders and tell him Susan sent you.  He always gives a fair price and he’s conveniently located at 1566 Fourth Street in San Rafael.  He’s generally there from 3:30-6:30pm 415-457-0927

Local vet who treats chickens- Central Marin Cat and Exotic Hospital San Rafael  415-479-2287

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Building the Large Coop in Sebastopol

This large coop began on a foggy morning in Sebastopol, California.

What’s incredible about this coop is the stone foundation meticulously laid.  This is a testament to the talent of Apolinar.

Stone Foundation Keeps All Predators Out

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Apolinar’s Workshop

Here’s where Apolinar builds the smaller coops and raised bed gardens.

Apolinar’s Workshop

Apolinar Working On A Coop


“Apolinar and his crew were extremely diligent in their building of our large coop (designed for 60 chickens).  During the building project, we hit an unlucky weather streak with lots of rain, cold and wind, and I couldn’t believe how dedicated they were to showing up and pushing forward on our coop.  Apolinar is consistently professional, exceptionally tidy, inventive, and responsible.  The coop has functioned perfectly with its hinged roosting bars, large doors for litter clean out, and nest boxes.  The custom doors they built for the run leading out to the free-range areas are sized perfectly.  I  definitely recommend Apolinar and would trust him to build you a great chicken house using lots of creative finishing touches and implementing really useful ideas.”

Susan Bryer, Shelton’s Market Garden, Sebastopol, CA

February 2012


“I hired Apolinar De La Rosa to construct two raised gardening beds for me. I wanted these two beds constructed in such a way that if I was going to move, that I would be able to take them with me. When they were delivered, these beds were beautiful.  They were made extremely well of redwood, and Apolinar used bolts instead of nails so it could be taken apart and moved.  I am very pleased with Apolinar’s work and the way he delivered on his word.”

Sara, San Rafael, CA


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Custom Made Chicken Coops and Yards

Backyard Eggs for You and the Neighbors!

Affordable Chicken Coops and Yards

  • Custom Built to Fit Your Space and Needs
  • Predator Proof
  • Using Recycled Materials When Available
  • Free Chicken Tips and Info

Fall is here and we’re getting lots of orders, so sign up for your free consultation today.  415-378-1685

Small coop for 3-4 chickens 2.5×5′
Medium coop for 4-6 chickens 3’x5.5′
Medium Large coop for 6-8 chickens 4’x6′
Large coop for 8-10 chickens 4’x8′
Coops custom made for any number of fowl
(see photos below)

(chickens usually lay 1 egg a day in summer, fewer in winter. How many eggs do you want?)

Includes Site Evaluation and Optimal Placement, Nesting Boxes, Roosts, Ramp, Easy Access Door to Reach Eggs and Clean Up, and Exterior Paint

***High Ventilation Design from Turn of the Century Wisdom…the Key to Optimal Chicken Health***

We’ve done our research. Don’t put your chickens in an enclosed box with tiny windows, even at night. They exhale much more moisture than people expect, and they’ll be unhappy and weakened in the stale damp air.


-Pecking Yards enclosed top and sides with mesh hardware cloth for lots of predator proof outdoor time.

-Chicken Tractor Coops built with wheels for easy mobility to fertilize your garden and keep down mites.

-Rabbit Hutches and Chick Starter Boxes

-Raised Bed Organic Gardens, Edible Gardens, Low Maintenance Yards, Fruit Trees, Pruning, Drip Irrigation Systems, Design and Installation, Patios, Arbors, Stonework, and Maintenance

Custom Designed and Built by a local skilled carpenter and organic gardener with rave reviews!


“Apolinar is honest, reliable and talented. We moved into our San Anselmo home in October 2008 and found ourselves with a seriously overgrown garden of roses and fruit trees in the front yard and a small jungle in the back yard. He could see the potential in our garden and transformed it into an edible landscape with drip irrigation system. When Spring came this year our front yard was an absolute riot of rose blooms: passers-by actually stopped to take pictures. I can’t say enough how much my husband and I have appreciated working with Apolinar. Now many of our neighbors and my Mother are working with him.” –K. Chao

Free site evaluation and delivery within Marin County. Travel fee for Pt. Reyes Station, Bolinas to Muir Beach, and outside Marin County 50 cents per mile round trip from San Rafael.

Join the Backyard Food Revolution!


Click on the Photos for a Larger View

Medium Coop Rear View with Exterior Roosting Box for Easy Egg Collection

Very Large Coop and Pecking Yard for 20-25 Chickens in Sebastopol

Medium Large Coop For 6-8 Chickens Made From a Converted Kids Playhouse in San Rafael

Small Coop and Yard for 3-4 Chickens in a Compact Berkeley Backyard

All feature wire floor section under roost bars so droppings go through to the ground and exterior roosting box for easy egg collection. You can have any size to look like one of these designs or we make custom designs to suit your needs. When making inquiries, it’s helpful if you tell us how many fowl you plan to house (if that’s what you’re interested in) and what town you live in. Thank you!

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