Guest Post: Chicken Farmer Summer 2012 Update

We still have 6 hens and 1 mean old rooster.  They are still laying strong at 4-6 eggs a day.  As soon as one of our friends decides to cull their flock the rooster is going.  We can’t even go near him and if we turn our backs he starts making a run at us.  I whacked him once with the rake I had in my hand and it knocked him out.  Since then he has studiously avoided me.

We decided to increase the range area of the girls so they could free range a little better.  We did that by increasing the height of the fence surrounding the chicken run.  You can see that in the photo below.  We now have to open their door every morning and close it at night.

I also removed the lattice and their side of the deck so that is now their favorite place to take an afternoon nap when it gets hot out.  Our main problem now is they love to get up on our deck.  It would be OK but they think it’s their bathroom.

Our next project is to clear the Kudzu off the front hill and build another coop and run out there.  This requires cutting back the Kuzdu and other weeds.  Then clearing and racking the ground.  We will have to wait for the Kudzu to start growing back in order to spray it with some brush/vine killer or else we will always be fighting the growth of it in their run.  We also have to level the ground a little better and plant some grass.  While the area is in the shade a good bit of the day it does get enough sun so we can plant some grass in the area.

Another option is to connect the two areas together and install a gate between the two areas.  We could then let them use one area while the grass in the other recovers.  Our goal is to be able to support 10 – 12 hens.  If we did that we would need to build another coop and we could let them “pasture” out under the trees during the summer and then up close to the house in the winter.  The chick weed is quite prolific up near the house in the winter.

We are currently running an experiment.  We bought a 50 pound bag of pellets and split it between two 5 gallon pails from Lowes.  We placed an oxygen absorber in each pail and sealed it shut.  It’s been 6 months now and we are going to wait 1 year before we open the pails to see how viable the feed is.  If it works it will solve the problem of storing feed long term.  We need to get some starter feed and try storing that long term also.

We purchased a bread maker.  Now what does that have to do with chickens?  Well you know who got to eat all the bread that didn’t turn out right.  I think they are kind of tired of eating bread now.  Last night I threw them some left over pizza crust and they kind of pecked at it a little and walked off.

Billie Jean (our guardian dog) makes a habit of walking the yard after the girls are all in bed.  I finally figured out he was looking for leftovers.

That’s all that’s been happening with this chicken farmer.

__________________

Dan Shaw, chicken farmer and entrepreneur.  http://www.diyyardandhome.com

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3 Responses to Guest Post: Chicken Farmer Summer 2012 Update

  1. Julie Helms says:

    Won’t the chickens keep down the kudzu on their own without you having to spray?
    Get rid of that rooster. He isn’t serving a purpose except to hassle you. If you don’t intend to hatch eggs, then you don’t need him anyway–he is just bringing down your enjoyment level. I have no tolerance for aggressive roos anymore.
    I love your new expansion for the girls–lots of room!

  2. authormjlogan says:

    I don’t have chickens, but my grandfather did. That rooster would have been soup by now.

  3. danrshaw says:

    authormjlogan:
    Well the rooster will be soup as soon as Beth gets her friend to off some of her chickens. She is still learning the process. That was the deal. I’d agree to having chickens, building their coop and taking care of them. She has to butcher them and cook them.

    Julie:
    I will let the Kudzu expand back into the chicken yard after the grass has grown. Kudzu makes a bad base and I don’t want it growing from the ground up in the yard. There are plenty of vines as you can tell around the area. I’m going to have them climb the fencing and then back down into the yard.

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