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What’s the Scoop on Coops? Walk-in Chicken Coops That Is.

at home chicken coops for self- sustainability

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We spoke with urban farmer and queen bee Samantha Foxx about self-sustainability and why chickens and walk-in coops are the 2020 trend.

The current pandemic has shifted nearly all aspects of our lives, inviting in a new perspective on work-life balance, home wellness and even our relationship with food. Whether it was when your local grocery stores showed rows of empty shelves or when you had to get extra creative in the kitchen with your limited options of fresh produce, there was a moment for many of us that ignited a change in how we source our food. Simply put: self-sustainability in 2020 hits differently.

Sustaining the health of ourselves and our families during these uncertain times has encouraged people to begin growing their own herb and vegetable gardens and even investing in at-home walk in chicken coops.

chicken coops and gardens self sustainability at home

Christine Rucker Photography

Sustaining the health of ourselves and our families during these uncertain times has encouraged people to begin growing their own herb and vegetable gardens and even investing in at-home walk in chicken coops for a reliable source of eggs and protein. In fact, NPR noted that hatcheries have seen a boom in customers during quarantine, with some people searching for ways to pass the time with their families and others seeking ways to deal with food scarcity.

Martha Stewart has long had a home estate with a walk-in chicken coop and more than 200 chickens that she has tended to for five decades. From the darling Plymouth Rock chickens to the gorgeous blue and brown eggs produced by the hens, her farm-centric lifestyle proves that you can live beautifully and sustainably.

Growing your own food, even a small herb garden, means healthy produce straight to your family’s table. So, you can build your own nutrient-rich salads, gorgeously garnish your homemade appetizers and craft tasty and totally snackable treats all while relying less on your local grocers.

To take our health to the next level (because let’s be honest, most of us have the time), we looked into creating our own walk-in, at-home chicken coops this season. Whether you live in a large city or a rural town, there is no reason to not try out this trending health-hack. ICONIC LIFE spoke with farmer, educator and queen bee Samantha Foxx of Mother’s Finest Family Urban Farms to get the scoop on the coops.

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Samantha Foxx teaches self sustainability with walk in chicken coops

Samantha Fox

Foxx is a woman who knows exactly what it takes to run a farm with respect for the land and a focus on wellness for the whole community. As the daughter of Indigenous Peoples and a native to North Carolina, she has cultivated a holistic life deeply connected to the earth, which includes beekeeping, farming and managing her chicken coops. Her Urban Farm delivers fresh produce via a subscription service for those looking for a healthier upgrade from grocery store goods while also sustaining farmers during these unprecedented times.

Foxx asks her followers and customers this often-overlooked question: “Who is feeding you? Who are your farmers? Tell us about people you know that are fruitful of the land and not always taking…let’s talk about the givers.”

In addition to produce, her company also offers a beautiful line of products sourced almost entirely from her farm, like the Hemp Infused Elderberry Syrup, Jamaican Scotch Bonnet Infused Honey and Shea Honey Butter, encouraging us all to live a life of wellness. As a self-proclaimed “crazy chicken lady,” Foxx serves the community with her delicious home-grown eggs from her Carolina coops that range in color and size.

“It makes food more exciting and my customers appreciate learning about the different breeds and egg colors at the markets,” Foxx says regarding the growing interest in chickens.

Between serving her community via farm-fresh food, raising a family of empathetic little ones who respect the ecosystem and tending to her flock of chickens in the city, Foxx is changing the way we look at sustainable, urban living.

Keep reading for our Q&A with Foxx.

As a self-proclaimed “crazy chicken lady,” Foxx serves the community with her delicious home-grown eggs from her Carolina coops that range in color and size.

Samantha Foxx walk in chicken coops and sustainability

Christine Rucker Photography

ICONIC LIFE: Tell us about the process of choosing the right chickens for different families’ needs and what it takes to get their new animals home to their new walk-in chicken coop.

SAMANTHA FOXX: Depending on your family’s needs, you can get chicken breeds specifically for egg laying, like Rhode Island Reds, Barred Rocks or Leghorns. You can also get Bantam varieties like Silkies for more boutique style birds or rare breeds like the Ayam Cemani, which is a beautiful all-black chicken.

One chicken per person is ideal if you are looking to collect eggs rather than committing to a whole walk-in chicken coop. They are a great asset as they fertilize the soil, provide food and help with insect management on any property. Plus, if you like to harvest your own meat, you can do that. It’s also a yard ornament for some people, as they serve as a very therapeutic element.

You can easily transport chickens depending on the size in small boxes, but make sure to add pine shavings for the trip and plan to go straight home with them. You can also turn plastic tote containers into travel carriers for chickens by cutting out the middle of the top and adding chicken wire with zip ties. You can use this set up multiple times to transport your chickens.

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ICONIC LIFE: What do you need to set up chicken coops or a walk-in chicken coop at home, whether you live in a city or a rural area?

SAMANTHA FOXX: Safety is first, so you want to make sure you have a coop that is safe from prey like raccoon or foxes. I would also think about rules and regulations in the area, especially regarding roosters, who are not welcome in all places. Backyard chicken keeping is easy, and you can build coops on a budget with reusable materials like palettes and old doors.

You can build a coop for under $150 with reusable naturals, and it will be very effective with keeping your new yard ornaments.

at home walk in chicken coops to be sustainable

Samantha Foxx

They are beautiful to watch in your yard and definitely can bring a lot of life to any space. Pinterest is a great place to look up simple and walk-in chicken coop ideas and plan for your new chickens to arrive.

ICONIC LIFE: Tell us about the different hens that lay a variety of eggs, including boutique breeds available.

SAMANTHA FOXX: Each chicken lays a different color depending on the breed, which is how you get some of the beautiful green and blue eggs, from the Easter Eggers and Ameraucanas or the deep chocolate color from the Copper Maran. It was literally my dream egg color for my rainbow carton of farm fresh eggs. I love cooking with them, and it makes me feel more connected to my food when I can go get my eggs fresh right from my own back yard for breakfast. And it’s so fun to see my kids’ faces light up when they see their first green egg.

You can build a coop for under $150 with reusable naturals, and it will be very effective with keeping your new yard ornaments. They are beautiful to watch in your yard and definitely can bring a lot of life to any space. Pinterest is a great place to look up simple and walk-in chicken coop ideas and plan for your new chickens to arrive.

I love cooking with them, and it makes me feel more connected to my food when I can go get my eggs fresh right from my own back yard for breakfast.

Samantha Foxx talks self sustainble chicken coops

Allison Lee Isley Photography

ICONIC LIFE: Tell us about the different hens that lay a variety of eggs, including boutique breeds available.

SAMANTHA FOXX: Each chicken lays a different color depending on the breed, which is how you get some of the beautiful green and blue eggs, from the Easter Eggers and Ameraucanas or the deep chocolate color from the Copper Maran. It was literally my dream egg color for my rainbow carton of farm fresh eggs. I love cooking with them, and it makes me feel more connected to my food when I can go get my eggs fresh right from my own back yard for breakfast. And it’s so fun to see my kids’ faces light up when they see their first green egg.

ICONIC LIFE: Are there any downsides to raising chickens on your home property/creating a walk-in chicken coop?

SAMANTHA FOXX: No, not really. Through the seasons, you have to do a coop cleanup a few times a year. But once you have them, it’s really nice to be connected to something living, to wake up and have purpose. It’s something really to be thankful for, too, because the whole family is involved; we harvest them together, cook together, and it’s a beautiful and warming thing to eat a meal you created together.

It’s really something that can become addicting very fast. “The crazy chicken lady syndrome” is real.

at home self-sustainability walk in chicken coops

Christine Rucker Photography

ICONIC LIFE: When it comes to balancing health and wellness at home, how would you recommend people begin this journey towards general self-sustainability, not just having a walk-in chicken coop?

SAMANTHA FOXX: Start small by replacing one thing that you normally buy at the grocery store, like cilantro or lettuce, and growing that at home. It will add so much to your health, and you get to show your whole family this growing process. It’s very impactful. It seems like a small deed, but it’s a revolutionary act when you plant a seed and decide for yourself how you will be fed. Teaching kids this act of gardening and growing, how to get their hands dirty, while also encouraging empathy.

Growing herbs is a great way to understand plants better. You can make satchels of herbs, like lavender, for your pillows that smell good and are very relaxing. Plants are medicine, so you can start by researching the properties and then try creating some teas to help with things like insomnia or headaches. This idea of self-education is important because you don’t need anyone else to begin understanding how to live more naturally.

EXCELLENT EGGS

• Considered “The Lamborghini of Poultry” the Indonesian Ayam Cemani will cost you around $2,500 for one hen. This chic black bird is not only dark-as-night on the outside, but it reveals a striking dark black meat that has customers begging for one of their own. The rare breed is hard to find, though, and with such a high price-tag, it seems you would want to keep this beauty more as a pet than an entree.

• A distant cousin of the Ayam Cemani are the Swedish Black Hens, also from Indonesia despite their name, and are known for their all-black coloring with feathers that may shimmer from green to purple in the sunlight. They have been deemed one of the most coveted hens for their ability to withstand very cold temperatures, making them especially hardy and easy to raise in cooler climates. They lay white and cream-colored eggs, have a relaxed temperament and can be purchased for around $100 per hen.

• The ever-popular Araucana hen comes from Chile and is a beloved chicken for its true blue eggs. These alert and intelligent birds have distinct ear tufts that make them stand out from the rest, and their gorgeous eggs range from light blue to a pale green. Aesthetically pleasing? Yes. But the chickens are also people-lovers, making them easy to raise and enjoyable for young kids and adults, plus they are available at a very reasonable cost to the average household.

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