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Sharon Kitchens

Sharon Kitchens is a neo-homesteader learning the ins and outs of country living by luck and pluck and a lot of expert advice. She writes about bees for The Huffington Post and stuff she loves on her personal blog, deliciousmusings.com. When she is not writing, she enjoys edible gardening, reading books on food and/or thinking about food, hanging out by her beehives and patiently tracking down her chickens in the woods behind her old farmhouse. In her blog, Sharon profiles farm families, reports on farm-based education and internships, conducts Q&A's with master beekeepers, offers tips on picking a CSA, and much more. Sharon can be contacted at kitchens.sharon@gmail.com or on Twitter @deliciousmusing.

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The Root with Sharon Kitchens
Posted: September 30, 2014

Poultry Coop Contest Announced

The run added onto the original coop.

The run added onto the original coop.

Do you happen to raise a few chickens in your backyard? Then let’s assume you have a chicken coop to go along with them.

What inspired your coop? Did you help design it? The University of Maine Cooperative Extension and Maine Poultry Growers Association (MPGA) want to know all about what it is built of (re-purpose any materials?), have any special gadgets or details?). U. Maine and the MPGA recently announced they are accepting entries for the 2015 Maine Poultry Coop Contest until Saturday, Nov. 1.

Coop Basics:

Chicken housing should be clean, rodent-proof, and built like Fort Knox to keep hungry predators out (skunks, foxes, raccoons, and cat fishers are your primary concerns).

Chickens are very private about their laying. They can get easily stressed out and need a quiet dark place to lay their eggs. This is where nesting boxes come in, but just try to convince my gals to use them! They prefer to create spaces between the hay bales in the barn. Just make sure they have access to make their nests.

When I bought my property it came with a coop. I visited a number of friends who have chickens and learned a thing or two about designs. I worked with a contractor to build a run and an interior area in the pre-existing coop that would provide further attention to my gals. Later on I built a coop on my own inside the barn – much warmer/more protection from wind and snowdrifts – for the gals to hole up in during the winter months. Over time I have had a contractor come in and build it out some, make it more secure, and add a few details to make the gals more comfortable. They are happy, I am happy.

Contest details: You may submit up to three photos with each entry. Submissions information is here.

Be sure to check out the judging criteria here.

This is a wonderful opportunity for you to show off your creativity, the ladies (and perhaps gents), share the job of keeping chickens and help encourage responsible coop building and maintenance.

According to the University of Maine’s press release: The first-place winner will be awarded $150; second place will win $100; and third place will earn $50. Fourth- and fifth-place finishers will receive one-year subscriptions to Backyard Poultry Magazine. All entrants will get free 2015 memberships in MPGA, which is providing all the awards. Winners will be announced Jan. 14, 2015 at the State of Maine Agricultural Trades Show in Augusta.

For more information, contact Lynne Hazelton,207.781.6099, lhazelton@maine.edu.

For more on backyard chickens, go here.

 

Snowy winter, no time for the gals to be in the outside coop.

Snowy winter, no time for the gals to be in the outside coop.

One of the first updates made to the coop area in the barn? A secure door!

One of the first updates made to the coop area in the barn? A secure door!

Seen at the Billings Farm and Museum in Vermont, I had one built for the barn.

Seen at the Billings Farm and Museum in Vermont, I had one built for the barn.

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