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The chicks have come home to roost

(COURTESY ALEXA MONTOUR)

During the COVID-19 lockdown, contractor Chris Montour found himself at home with a lot of time on his hands. He started to add more and more gardens in his yard. The family had at least four before COVID-19. And that is when his daughter thought they should get chickens.

“I just mentioned the idea of a chicken coop to him,” said Alexa, 19. “I didn’t know he was actually going to do it, but then he got on it right away,” she said.

“I took all these ideas from some pictures I saw on Pinterest,” said Chris. “My daughter was the one who would research everything and kept sending me things, and I just kept going off her ideas,” he said.

Montour started building the coop from scratch and finished it in about three weeks. He said that it was labour intensive but that since he had the time, he just kept going.

“I put a lot of work into it because I wanted it to be nice,” he said.

“When I first mentioned it to him, I wasn’t expecting a whole big chicken coop,” Alexa said, laughing.

While Montour was building the coop, the family went to a farm in Mercier to purchase the chicks and the supplies necessary to raise them.

The family came home with 10 chicks, and they were kept in a large box while they were still small.

“The farmer we got them from said it was better to have more (chicks) because when they are small, you don’t know if it will be a hen or rooster,” said Alexa.

When the chicks were three weeks old, they were placed in their new forever home.

Montour added a feeder and waterer in the coop so that the chicks could easily access food and water without having to monitor them constantly.

Alexa called the day-to-day upkeep “easy to maintain.”

“My community inspired me because I think right now, sustainability is really important, and that was also the main reason why I thought about a chicken coop,” she said. “To know what we are eating, what we are growing, what we are putting into our foods, like no chemicals and bad stuff like that.

“And I just thought the idea of raising chickens would be fun too. We had started gardens a long time ago, and we just keep adding on and adding on,” said Alexa.

Montour has his own big tomato garden, which Alexa said was his favourite, but the family also has potatoes, onions, cucumbers, corn, beans, and squash in their gardens.

After about a month of having the chicks, the family is surprised at how big they have gotten already and are anticipating many eggs in the near future, which they will eat and give away to family and friends.

“It’s fun and it’s exciting to watch them grow and to interact with them. And I have nieces and nephews, and they love to come to see them and play with them too,” said Alexa.

“I recommend it. The way you set up their little environment will determine how easy they will be to raise. It’s not very difficult to maintain if you have the right set up and you are prepared. I think people should do it,” she added.

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