25Jun/150

Backyard Chicken Coop Plans: Farm Your Own Organic Eggs

Many people don't realize how easy and cost-effective it can be to farm their own organic chicken eggs rather than continually buying eggs at the local supermarket. In just a small portion of most backyards, you can house a chicken coop and all of the equipment needed to farm raise organic chicken eggs, which are known to have a wide range of benefits when compared to their store-bought counterparts. In the following paragraphs, we'll explain how organic eggs are superior to your traditional supermarket eggs, and how you can easily get started with your own backyard chicken coop plans.

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Why Devote a Portion of Your Backyard to Eggs?

Eggs are considered excellent sources of protein, vitamins and minerals that promote healthy cell growth and renewal. In addition to being premium protein sources, eggs also pack a good amount of iron, phosphorus, vitamin B-12, selenium, beta-carotene, vitamin A, and vitamin E. Next to a garden and a pond, a chicken coop is about the healthiest thing you can put in your backyard.

The chickens themselves can also assist with garden maintenance by providing natural pest control (by eating the pests), and their manure makes an excellent composting addition for amending your organic gardening soils. As such, chicken coops are often incorporated into backyard permaculture setups, in which components of the garden, landscape, and wildlife work together to create a sustainable, symbiotic miniature ecosystem.

How are Organic Eggs Better than Conventional Store-bought Eggs?

According to an egg content testing study conducted in 2007 by Mother Earth News magazine, the eggs from a free-range chicken contain seven times the beta-carotene, three times the vitamin E, and almost 70% more vitamin A. It has been hypothesized that the increased physical activity and reduction of stress experienced by free range chickens may promote a more vigorous assimilation and distribution of nutrients in the hens themselves, and an enhanced ability to pass those nutrients on to their young. Beta-carotene is a building block of vitamin A, and it is also responsible for the dark orange color seen in organic free-range eggs.

Getting Started with your Own Backyard Chicken Coop Plans

The main mistake many backyard chicken farmers make is building an inadequate structure, that they then confidently deem a “chicken coop.” In many cases these backyard coops are nothing more than makeshift shelters that give the chickens little more than shade and food to eat. While that style of chicken farming can work, it won't produce optimal results in the form of happy chickens and a huge yield of highly nutritious and ultra-delicious organic eggs.

If you want that kind of performance from your backyard chicken coop, you'll need to start with the some detailed chicken coop plans and go from there. Fortunately, the chicken coop plans available online will usually tell you which materials to buy and provide you with all the assembly instructions you'll need to follow to get started.

Chances are you'll wind up with more eggs than you can eat by yourself within a reasonable amount of time, so you'll need to reserve a refrigerator and freezer for your eggs, and consider giving some of the excess to family members or selling some at your local farmers' market. Regardless of what you choose to do with them, having your own organic home-farmed chicken eggs to enjoy and share will certainly feel like a huge accomplishment, especially if you consider yourself to be a health-conscious do-it-yourselfer.

18Jun/150

Eco-friendly Homes – Secrets Revealed

Nowadays a lot of emphasis is being placed on the so-called “smart” homes, which are outfitted with high-tech gadgets that are supposed to make mundane everyday tasks even easier. From universal remote controls that can turn your shower on and off, to sensor-activated garage doors, technology is transforming the way we interact with the basic features of our homes. However, all of this comes at a cost to the environment, and as homes are equipped with more smart gadgets, they're comfort and convenience increases, but so does their carbon footprint. Luckily, many smart homeowners have begun taking steps to make their homes more eco-friendly without sacrificing their advanced amenities. Consider the following four ways you can make your home more eco-friendly:

1. Opting for Refurbished or Used Appliances When Renovating
Old appliances take up a lot of space in landfills every year, and many times these items only have a few broken parts that are easy to repair. In most cases such appliances wind up at a repair shop or used appliance retailer, where they're refurbished and then resold. Recycling old appliances and putting them into new homes is a great way to help the environment while also saving a great deal of money on your home renovation projects.

2. Installing Automated Windows to Reduce A/C Dependency
Automated window openers can utilise a variety of sensors to detect when the windows in your home should be opened, thereby allowing a breeze in when certain wind speeds or temperatures are detected, or closing the windows to retain heat when the exterior temperature drops too low. Automatic actuators like those found at tealproducts.com can be equipped with weather and smoke sensors to improve your home's comfort and safety while also reducing your dependency on air conditioning. Furthermore, since these products are activated by sensors, you'll never have to worry about accidentally leaving a window open and wasting electricity by letting the conditioned air escape.

3. Set up a Composting Bin in the Kitchen
Putting a sealed, self-containing composting bin in your kitchen can make it easier to dispose of biodegradable waste without having to take your banana peels and egg shells out to the backyard every morning after breakfast. While you might not like the idea of having rotten by-products in your kitchen, these bins are surprisingly smell-free and are very easy to empty without making a mess. Of course, if you don't yet have a composting pile in your backyard then you should start by making space for that before getting a kitchen bin to be used as a composting accessory. Every eco-friendly homeowner should consider practicing home gardening with the help of their own composted soils.

4. Use Light Timers and/or Install Skylights to Limit Electricity Usage
Indoor lighting accounts for a huge portion of your home's monthly electricity bill and carbon footprint. While running your house on solar or wind power would be ideal, until you're able to reach that goal it would at least be wise to reduce your electricity consumption by moderating your light usage with light timers or skylights. Light timers are of course the cheaper option here, but skylights are relatively affordable as well when you consider how much money they can save you in the long-term.

Aim for an Eco-Friendly Addition Once Every 1-3 Months
A great way to make your home more eco-friendly on an ongoing basis is to make it a point to install at least 1 environmentally beneficial renovation every 1-3 months. These can be small additions like adding another solar panel or wind turbine to your home's electricity system, or planting trees or bushes in your yard to push more oxygen into the environment. Overall, the key to having an eco-friendly home without investing a lot up front is to add new features gradually.