Chicken Shade

We mentioned last week that our chickens have stopped laying. Most of this problem existed because we moved their coop a few weeks ago, to another area of the farm. We also needed to provide them with more shade, the coop wasn’t enough. So a week ago I built a simple A-frame shelter that was light enough it can be moved as needed. This took us less than $100 in materials and approximately 2 hours of labor (a second person does help for a couple of the steps).

Material List:

6 – 2 x 2 x 8′
1 – 2 x 4 x 8′
2 – 2 x 4 x 10′ (treated)
2 – 36″ x 8′ L Pro-Rib Steel Panel
1 – 1″ Wood Grip Galvanized Screw 1lb
1 – 2″ Galvanised wood screws
1 – 8′ Corner Flashing
2 – wheels (optional)
Axel (optional with wheels)


Chicken Run

Most summers here at Highland Heights are busy with different building projects, this year not with standing. One of the projects this year was to get the poultry moved out to a larger pasture. Quite frankly, while we loved the chickens near the house it became a constant battle cleaning up their mess, in the barn, on the porch or worse yet our picnic table. We needed to get them relocated.

With any project comes planning, so we spent a few weeks mapping out different possibilities. Adding fencing is always a big consideration, once built it becomes a permanent feature of the farm; not easily moved. We settled on dividing one of our pastures. This meant we could utilize two side of the existing fencing to save on cost. In the future we will be able to divide the remaining area of the pasture to make an area for our future goats and cattle.

With help of a friend and the use of his tractor and post pounder, we were able to put in the fence line in a few hours. We decided to put in standard farm fencing and over lapped it with a 24″ tall poultry wire to keep the chickens and ducks in and other predators out. Over the next few weeks we worked on stretching the wire around the new pasture. Our oldest daughter (4) and I then took a week putting up the poultry wire. We worked our way down the fence line with zip ties to secure it to the previously installed farm fence.

Hard Lessons Learned:

For the last six weeks our 30 chickens and 4 ducks have been enjoying their new digs. What I didn’t take into account for was how hard it is on the poultry to change their environment. Even if it was just a across our property. We quickly began to see a problem develop, our chickens stopped laying eggs. Normally for a short period of time this wouldn’t be a big deal but we have a lot of regular customers who stop by for their eggs, in addition to selling at the farmers market. At first we put it down to stress, but when it continued, we started doing some more reading and believe this is due to two things; first because of the move, we changed their environment causing stress to the birds, second their new pasture did not have enough shade. They had full access to their coop but that wasn’t enough to lounge outside and cool off in a dust bath.

The first problem will fix itself with time (6-8 weeks is not unusual). For the shade we build an a-frame shelter we are able to move around the pasture to give our poultry much needed respite from the hot sun. Watch for another post on how we built that shelter, including a full material list soon for anyone who would like to use it. Less than 2 hours of work and well under $75 in materials, making it cost effective and easy to make.

As we enter into fall I hope to see our egg production start to increase as the bird continue to get settled in. There are always lessons to be learned on the farm. Happy Farming!

2 days and counting

We are on day 3 of our crowd funding campaign ( and we have already seen a wave of emotions. We were delayed launching because when we picked January 19th, we didn’t think about it being a holiday and that banks would be closed, so when we needed a verification code from the bank…well, all we could do was wait.

We launched on Wednesday instead of Monday, but we got off to a great start with several contributions coming in within minutes! It was fun. Then we started refreshing the screen and waiting for the next contribution. You start thinking of every detail that may have been overlooked. We’ve spent hours staring at the computer thinking we need to do something, but not wanting to over post either! It’s a balancing act of getting our information out there and waiting for people to make the leap from knowing about us to booking a nights stay.

We have had some good questions so far, so we want to address those here too, rather than multiple posts on Facebook.

  • When you contribute to the campaign, your card will be charged immediately. However, if our campaign is unsuccessful, you will get a full refund and we will get $0.
  • Several people have said it would be nice if we could get the money that people give, even if we don’t meet our goal. We could have set the campaign up that way, but that would actually not benefit those contributing. Why? Well, if we raise $50,000 we could build maybe 1 Yurt, but we could potentially have 100 bookings waiting to spend the night, and we would not be able to fulfil those bookings because we couldn’t open.
  • We want to fulfil our promises and more to you, our guests and our backers. So, we chose a campaign that we have to raise the full $200,000 by February 25th, 2015 or we get $0.

Help us reach this goal, by sharing our campaign, contributing and asking others to contribute to. We are thankful for your support.

And now we will leave you with a picture of some cute chickens, just for fun!




Duck eggs vs Chicken eggs

Duck Eggs are an Alkaline producing food – Anti cancer food

Farm Fresh eggs with a rich smooth orange yolk whether Chicken eggs or Duck eggs will surprise you if you have only experienced the colorless and flavorless supermarket versions. What most people do not know is that Duck eggs are far superior to Chicken eggs with the same taste and richer smoother consistency yet better than a chicken egg in many ways

1. Duck eggs have twice the nutritional value of a chicken egg and stay fresher longer due to their thicker shell.

2. Duck eggs are richer with more Albumen making cakes and pastries fluffier and richer.

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As I walked to the barn one evening the horses called out as I got closer. They began to pace back and forth in their stalls in anticipation of their evening feed. For five long days, we have been waging a war against the winter storm that hit us.

Because of the imminent storm warnings we had to rearrange the barn in order to get two extra stalls built. Under normal circumstances two of our younger horses stay outside having access to shelter 24/7, however with large amount of snow predicted and the threat of temperature down to -25 and wind chills of -40 we needed to be prepared to offer them more protection. So I spent most of my Saturday rearranging the barn and building two more stalls.

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How to choose a Chicken Coop

This post has been in the “draft” folder for several months. We wanted to document how we chose our chicken coop and fill it full of resources for our readers. We wanted this to be somewhere people would come to reference information on choosing the BEST chicken coop for your needs. After many attempts to write this post, there was still something just missing. Finally, it dawned on us, it just didn’t feel like us. So, I scrapped the blog full of information, stats and resources and am giving you the real story on how we FINALLY chose our chicken coop! When you visit our farm, these are the real people you will meet!

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Each year that we have lived here at Highland Heights Farm, we have added or expanded what we do on the farm. We had hoped to add chickens a couple of years ago, but since we were expecting our first child in the Spring 2012, and were doing some major indoor restoration projects, we decided to wait another year before adding chickens.

Instead we spent that year reading multiple books on raising chickens. In early Spring 2013, we started talking to our local feed store, because we knew they ordered chicks close to Easter each year. We decided on 10 Golden Comet, 10 Silver Laced Wyandotte and 5 Ameraucana and placed our order with the feed store.

We had spent a whole winter planning. We were ready!

Continue reading the full story…