Just my two cents....Egg hunts are half the fun and a much more pleasant way to get the whole family involved (one of my daughter's favorite past times is reading to our hens and my son loves collecting bugs...especially those crazy junebugs to treat them with). If it didn't work out with a laying flock and with backyard flocks being as popular as they are, rehoming wouldn't be an issue for you. Also, you may want to check out craigslist and uncle henry's or any bartering sites before investing time and money into building a coop. I'd been looking to upgrade my coop so I could expand my flock but the pre-made coops are ridiculously expensive for very little space. I expanded my search for structures that were made for something else that I could repurpose. I found an insulated ice fishing shack that I've been converting to a henhouse and every day its looking more like a garden shed than a shanty. It's a 4x8 structure on skids so I can move it around the yard when I want/need to and it was only $250. I couldn't get materials for that! A few minor tweaks here and there and a coat of paint and voila!
Excellent points and ideas.
Lumber and isn't a big issue. We just cleared about 2 acres, and I have a buddy with a portable sawmill. We've been busy making boards and timbers when he gets done with work at night. My grand idea was to build a new woodshed near the house with it this summer and use it for firewood. And then if the chicken experiment goes well, convert it to a coop next year, closing in the front, insulating, adding roost and nest boxes, storage for feed and equipment, etc. plus running a water and electric line from the house. Next year we want to start clearing across the street, and move the firewood operations over there. When we start clearing, I'll have another good supply of cedar, fir, hemlock, and some maple for building again.
I think I may just have to accept that sometimes my ideas are bigger than my budget and back, LOL. It might be better to just hold off another year and start in the spring with a flock of layers. My other problem is that I'm often one of those go big or go home kind of fellas... I could spend so much time planning the perfect coop and area that I never get around to actually getting the chickens.
The boys have watched me process deer, moose, and small game and weren't phased at all, but... Butchering a chickens that they have just spent a few months helping to feed and care for is something else again I think. I'd hate to break their hearts and turn them off the experience.
Again, great points. I've got lots of thinking to do, and more research!