This year we ordered 8 heritage breed hens for laying. We’ve had so much fun with the girls that we’re considering raising more poultry for meat this next year. While my Hubby raised lots of birds in his younger days, this is my first time around poultry. And there’s a lot I’ve learned about raising my first flock (all while listening to Hubby in the background saying, “I told you so!”).
I was adamant that we allowed our hens to free-range. When they were younger we had much more room for them inside their portable run, but now that they’re almost fully grown the run is barely big enough for two girls. So, they pretty much have the freedom to run all over our property.
During the hot afternoons I can usually find the gals underneath our porch, cooling off. Once the heat starts to wear off, though, I’m in for some trouble. About 6:30 pm every day they enjoy a nice stroll, pecking, pecking, pecking their way up to my edibles garden. A few will even head up toward the roadside to find goodies in the brush. I can almost set my clock to it.
When they’re not under the porch, the girls are busy shredding up my garden beds, ridding me of weeds, insects, and mulch. Judging by this display I’d consider their work leans toward the Post-Modern.
They also like to make work of my compost piles.
I’ve learned to put plantings up high and out of reach. Chickens are like 2-year olds – they have their limbs in EVERYTHING!
And even putting things out of reach doesn’t guarantee that they will be safe.
Of course the fresh eggs almost make up for the messes. But it’s a moment like this that reminds me to giggle.
What have I learned these first few months? Broilers and Roasters will definitely need a bigger portable run!!
Jennifer can be found at Unearthing this Life where she shares snippets of her rural life, recipes, and other blarg-worthy stuff.