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Mark Frauenfelder may just trade in his King of the Internet crown for a King of DIY crown. He’s co-editor of superblog Boing Boing and editor-in-chief of DIY bible MAKE Magazine. His book Made by Hand is hitting shelves on June 1, and it promises to inspire families to slow down and make stuff.

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Mark Frauenfelder has been doing it himself since high school. When he wasn’t making his own comic book fanzines and handing them out to his classmates, he was playing in a punk band and pressing his own records. Boing Boing, the website he co-edits, started as a zine. When he became the editor of MAKE Magazine, he found that there was an entire community of people who loved making things and weren’t afraid to make mistakes.

When Mark calls us from his family home in an urban area of Los Angeles, he’s busy building a treehouse with his daughters. His whole family has embraced the DIY spirit and loves making their own homemade yogurt and kombucha (a fermented tea drunk to boost health) and tending to their backyard chickens. Whenever possible, they try to reuse materials for their projects (for example, using leftover scraps of wood instead of driving to the lumber store).

Mark says making things with your kids is a great way for them to use their hands and take part in some real-world learning (as opposed to the kind they do while sitting behind a desk). Raising chickens from day-old chicks has been his daughters’ favourite experience. Their friends dressed up one of the eggs and made a house for it; the egg was special because they knew the animal it had come from.

Wanna raise your own backyard chickens like Mark’s family? Here are his tips!

rsz_1img_01751. Make it a learning experience. Having chickens brought home the fact of the cycles of life and death. We provided the chickens with a home and good care, and they provided us with eggs. When predators got them, our younger daughter was really mad at the coyotes. Now she understands the coyotes don’t have evil intentions, and she understands how nature works.

2. Know what predators are in your area. Build a chicken run that is impervious to bobcats, coyotes, hawks, and other animals that can dig and chew and hop over. Raccoons are very resourceful, and they have thumbs. They can do things like unscrew lids and unlatch doors. They are really smart; they’re like little people.

3. Find out what kind of chickens are gentle with people. You can read about the different breeds on MyPetChicken.com. It will tell you what kind are good for kids. We’re not interested in eating our chickens as meat, and meat chickens not as friendly. Our chickens are bred for laying eggs. They’re very gentle. And they’re all hens, no roosters.

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Oh yeah, Mark raises bees, too. 

 

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