Here at Blue Faerie Farm, we are working hard to grow organic cider apples and to produce a
great, hand-crafted hard cider. As with any endeavor, and especially as with farms, we have
encountered any number of obstacles along the way. The most pressing at the moment is our
battle to keep insects from destroying the potential bounty from our organic apple orchard. For
us, commercial insecticides, and even some of the stronger "organic" sprays that kill pollinators,
are not how we choose to operate. We believe we have found the ideal solution: we need to
establish a bug-demolishing, egg-laying, fertilizer-producing chicken flock to protect our apples.
To support it we will need the necessary infrastructure: coop, water and feed storage, and
fencing. Now we need your help getting it going!!

While we knew from our initial research that pests would be a real problem for an organic orchard
in our area, the damage has exceeded our expectations. We need a solution that will allow us to
avoid harsher organic pest measures or conventional sprays that play havoc with pollinators and
other beneficial insects. The primary pests that we have identified have a ground vector that
chickens will be ideally suited to disrupt. We plan to strategically pasture our flock between the
woods our number one problem, plum curculio, overwinters in and the orchard. Further, early fruit
drops will be gathered and fed to the chickens as they often contain larvae from damaging insects.

Our chickens will be pastured, which is what everyone pictures when they hear terms like “free
range.” Our pasture plans are for the chickens to have full access to organic pasture areas that
we will regularly rotate them between. They will have ample access to insects, grasses, and
weeds, always plentiful on an organic farm, and organic vegetables and fruits. In short, all the
components of a natural, healthy chicken diet. We will supplement their forage with a certified
organic, non-GMO feed produced by a local farm. The chickens, in return, will process all this
organic goodness into the raw material for healthy organic compost that will, in return, nourish our
vegetables.

Our goal with this project, as with our whole farm, is sustainability. We have chosen natural oak as
the primary coop building material for a number of reasons: durability, sustainability and local
availability. We are working with a local, independently owned, small mill that gets a large portion
of their wood from private property tree removal. Solar panels will be employed to supply
electricity for lights, heat, and perimeter fencing. We will also use rainwater collection to the
greatest extent possible.
Henny the Chicken Premium
Supporting our Project

We have established 4 levels of support for the project along with accompanying
premiums:

At the $10 level we will paint your name prominently on a plank of our chicken coop.

At the $25 level we will paint your name AND you will receive a plush Henny the
stuffed and a dozen eggs. (If you can not pick up your eggs, they will be donated to
a local food bank).

At the $50 level you will receive everything from the $25 level plus a pint of our
hand crafted, small batch apple butter.

At the $100 level we will paint your name, you will receive 2 dozen eggs, a Large
Henny the Chicken and 2 pints of apple butter.

Donations of any size are always welcome!
DONATE NOW!
The Plan!

The new coop will be composed of 8x8 modules so it can easily and economically be expanded as our flock grows. The
design will allow for end walls to be removed so new module(s) can be attached as needed. Electricity will be supplied
by solar panels and battery storage. Water will be collected through rain gutters into 55 gallon drums, and stored in a
larger holding tank. As the flock grows and we can start buying feed in bulk, we will also be looking for a small feed silo
for storage. We already have poles for deer fencing around the outer perimeter, so we will only need to add chicken
wire to these. Pasture rotation will be accomplished with movable electric poultry netting that will keep the chickens
where we need them and predators out.

Progress

We started on this project at the end of our farm season last fall with our first batch of day-old baby chicks. They
started in a home built brooder until they were old enough to go outside. They then moved into a half size prototype
coop close enough to the house to run electricity and keep a close eye on them (Check our
Chicken page to see pics
of how we are doing). We are happy to report they are doing very well and starting to lay eggs! We initially ran a
funding project on Kickstarter, but unfortunately, it was unsuccessful. As this is a priority project for us, and growing
livestock moves at its own pace, we have had to borrow money from other funds at the farm to move things along. So
far, we have mostly completed one 8 x 8 coop and placed it in the location between the woods and the orchard. Our
first batch of chickens has moved in and is enjoying their new home. We still have a long way to go on the overall
project though. We still need additional fencing; water collection, storage and handling; solar energy set up; bulk feed
storage and additional chickens. In short, we still need funding help :-)