Written By Kathleen O’Brien, MUD Workshop Coordinator

It’s a rather idyllic experience to walk out your backdoor, down the porch, and out to your chicken coop to collect eggs on a crisp morning. Not to mention the joy of cooking with freshly harvested eggs – store bought yolks simply pale in comparison, literally! While chickens are an approachable livestock to raise to meet your sustainable living goals, the upfront costs can be daunting. Undeniably, the proper care of these animals is crucial! And while providing a safe coop for your flock is a priority, it can run you into the hundred and even thousand dollar range. With resources like Wasteless Works and Home Resource in our Missoula community, creating your own coop from the ground up is more approachable than you’d think. And you may even land some luck by revamping a previously used coop! MUD’s friend, Caitlyn Lewis, of Blue Mountain Flowers ran into just that, a used coop that was eager for a flock. 

The coop before being upgraded

At MUD, we’ve had the privilege of collaborating with Blue Mountain Flowers and the Missoula County Fairgrounds to create the Backyard Chicken Workshop Series! This three part series covers the fundamentals of having your own flock. From hatching and raising chicks, to building a proper coop, and protection from predators, these workshops are packed with knowledge. Coming up next is Session 2: The Scoop on the Coop! At this workshop on April 8th, the renovations of this previously owned coop will be on display. We’ll also discuss the necessary components of a coop and see how Caitlyn was able to accomplish this with used, and a few new, materials. From the addition of foam board insulation, to a new roosting box design, and upgraded access doors, this coop is looking more like a palace! We’ll also be considering options to protect your chickens from predators and see how the Blue Mountain Flowers farm will be burying chicken wire for their flock’s safety.

We are lucky to have experts like Laura DeNitto and Kristin Whisennand from the 4H program and Jamie Jonkel from Fish Wildlife & Parks presenting at these informative workshops. While households in Missoula can legally have 6 chickens with an inexpensive permit, there is a plethora of knowledge to have regarding feed, illness, enrichment, etc. to ensure proper care of chickens. We hope that with the support and knowledge of our community members and experts, we can help empower the Missoula community to consider this sustainable practice. With a flock of six healthy chickens, you could be bringing in an average of 12 dozen eggs a month! 

No modern convenience can replace the feeling of growing your own produce and harvesting your own eggs. While hard work is required to get the job done right, the end product is so much more satisfying! Our Missoula community holds the knowledge to help you give your chickens a beautiful life. And you know that MUD will always have the right tool for the job, and that coop!

If you’ve been eager to start your own flock, don’t miss out on our two remaining sessions of the Backyard Chicken series! Join us April 8th for the Scoop on the Coop and on May 6th for the final session, Keeping up with the Flock. You can sign up on our website under the workshops tab. And as always, we offer scholarships for our workshops. We believe finances should never be in the way of sharing skills! MUD has your back and we’re here to support you. If you have any questions or feedback regarding workshops, reach out to me at kathleen@mudproject.org

We hope to see you at the Chicken Series so you can see the finished coop, meet the chickens, and perhaps leave feeling empowered to start your very own flock!


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