We have finally settled in as chicken farmers. Our little ladies are now quite spoiled. They get scratch in the morning as soon as they are all out of the coop. The get greens (kudzu) sometime in the afternoon when I check the mail. In the evening after supper they get the table scraps and veggies out of the garden that aren’t edible.
I guess in the winter they will feel neglected when there is no Kudzu growing and no garden veggies. We could always hook up with the local stores and get their discarded veggies.
We added a roof over their yard to give them more shade. They can go under the shed also but they were feeling crowded. Not really, we just wanted an area that was covered where we could put the dust bath (that they don’t use) where it wouldn’t get rained on.
I built them a dust bath using landscaping timber and filled it with a mix of sand and Diatomaceous Earth. Well, they do like to scratch around in it but that’s about it. I guess they aren’t used to sand so it’s strange to them. I have noticed that their legs look a lot cleaner since putting it there so maybe the Diatomaceous Earth is doing them some good.
We finally solved the flat/round roost question. At least for our birds we did. We visited the farm where they came from as the sun was setting the other day. The owners let us look at their coop. Their coop is a barn and in part of that barn is 5 dog pens that open to five dog runs. The top of the dog pens is flat and about 4 feet deep and 4 feet high.
On one wall of the barn is a laddered roost that is stepped 1 foot up for every foot deep and it’s about 6 feet wide and has 5 roosting poles on it making it about 7 feet high. It’s never been used.
All 30 birds where perched on top of the dog pens. Go figure.
We changed the area under the roost. We did use straw and when it got too dirty we changed it out to wood shavings. About once a week I turn it all over like a compost pile and once a month 1 add a new layer of shavings. It seems to be working quite well. Wood shavings will make better garden mulch than the straw. We get all our wood shavings from a local saw mill and it only costs $5 for all we can haul away in trash bags. So it’s also a little cheaper than a bail of straw.
We actually made $5 from our eggs in August. Not that we’ve been selling them. Our next door neighbor insisted I take his $5 after his 3rd dozen eggs we gave them. No we didn’t frame it. I gave it to Beth like I do with any money I ever get. Though I did set it on the kitchen table and admired it all day till she got home.
We got 3 bags of potato chips for free that where past their Exp date. We give them a handful every evening with the table scraps. It sounds like a bunch of 5 year olds at a birthday party eating chips with the mouth open with all the clucking and crunching going on.
Dan Shaw, chicken farmer and entrepreneur. http://www.diyyardandhome.com