The Free Motion Quilting Project: Chickens, Free Range and Grilled

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Chickens, Free Range and Grilled

Leah is in Charlotte, NC for the day for a fiber artist meeting so this is Josh subbing in for her.

It's been a while since our last recipe so I'd like to share a simple one today. I'd also like to share some pictures and stories about our backyard chicken flock.

First, here's the recipe...
Herbed Grilled Chicken

A pound or two of chicken breasts, tenderloins, legs and thighs, or wings (every part of the chicken works well with this! My favorite are legs and thighs.)
Olive oil to coat chicken
Salt and pepper to taste
2 Tbs garlic, minced
Fresh rosemary *
Fresh thyme *

Lay chicken pieces in a mixing bowl or container. Cover in olive oil. Add a liberal amount of salt and pepper. Press garlic cloves in a garlic mincer and cover the surface of the chicken. Now sprinkle with fresh herbs, sliced in 1/2 inch pieces.

Flip over chicken and repeat for opposite side.

Marinate for at least 3 hours, preferably all day.

Chicken be grilled on an outdoor grill or rotisseried.

* Can also use Cajun ScRuNcH instead of fresh herbs. This makes it spicy instead of savory.

For those of you subscribed to Leah's newsletters (you can sign up by entering your name and email address at the top of the sidebar to the right), you know I keep a flock of 12 birds in the backyard, along with 2 week-old chicks living with their brood mother. The chicks are sired from a Saipan Jungle Fowl and their mother is a blue Ameraucana. (Go to 2:30 in the video for the chickens--Flammie is the blue Ameraucana.)What's intriguing is the male and female appear completely different at birth, like sex-links.

I recently expanded my chicken coop to make room for five juvenile pullets and one young rooster. You can see the end result below.

The coop is made out of chicken wire, shipping pallets, a rider mower trailer, a metal dog crate, an old squirrel trap, and James' retired crib.

It may not look pretty, but it gets the job done. It was fun to think up everything that could be used as building materials and I absolutely loved how all the parts came together to form a solid coop, especially seeing how well it stands up to heavy winds and storms.

A modest prefabricated coop for a mere two or three hens costs a whopping $400 plus. It's outrageous and highway robbery--almost like more of a status symbol than a functioning structure. No way was I going to pay even half that for something so small and one-dimensional.

The view above is from inside the chicken run, looking into the main part of the coop. This coop has now stood for almost a year. Amazingly it got through winter without a hitch. What's holding just about everything together is plastic zipties. When spring I arrived I replaced many of the ties with fresh ones as the plastic degrades in the UV light.

I hope you've enjoyed today's detour into our backyard chicken shanytown. Keeping a hen or two in the backyard is becoming one of the fastest growing hobbies in America. Everything you need to know and more can be found for free on the Internet.

Chickens are fun to watch and as a bonus you get an egg every day in the spring and summer. You can't beat that.

- Josh


  1. What a great post Josh!
    Keeping chickens as an hobby is on the rise in good old Blighty (UK) Hubby and I are seriously thinking of getting some to keep the kids you do lol.
    Don't you have a problem with Foxes up where you are? I was told we need something of strength to keep the foxes out :)
    *hugs* Heather x

  2. Heather, I've had one fox attack. I lost a hen but luckily I saw it happen as all the hens came running out of the coop. This was when I would occasionally leave the coop open at night, so it was essentially an invitation for a predator.

    Foxes are difficult to catch. They're smart and avoid traps pretty well.

    One thing that's worked for me is using a human scent deterrent. Old clothes around the coop keep the foxes away, except for the ones who are used to living around humans.

  3. Love the chicken post! What an astonishing-looking chick - are you sure you didn't tie-dye it? ;D

  4. Amazing coop. Personally though, I would have sold the crib for some cash, used that cash to buy recycled lumber and built one. But that's me. I like boxes. :)

  5. Your chicken set-up is in the old tradition of make-do. I remember my grandmother used an old bedspring set on edge to help reinforce the chicken yard fencing. She was determined to keep the foxes out, you see.


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