As the growing season comes to an end, it is time to put projects around the farm at the top of the priority list. One of the fall chores is putting the old hens in the freezer (keeping enough laying hens until the new chicks start laying), or selling them. I like to order my chicks in the fall. They will begin to lay around March or April, just in time for the new CSA season. For over 30 years I have had beautiful chickens running around the yard regardless of where we lived. Sometimes the coops and runs were simple structures, but years ago when we bought the farm we put in more permanent and sturdy facilities.
This run has protected my hens for many years. It is made from cattle panels arched and staked with T posts. Chicken wire was placed over, and wired securely to the panels. This keeps the hens in and the hawks, eagles, skunks, coyotes and dogs out. If you have predators trying to dig under the panels line the edges with large flat rocks. We graze animals alongside the run and wanted to be able to attach fencing to the T posts as a barrier to keep the grazing goats or sheep from climbing on the run.
This is our fancy "RED NECK" door latch
Our large hen house hotel is home to about 100 hens. I wanted a larger run and so we used the cattle panels length wise, stabilizing them through the middle with 2x4's.
I do not like this run as well. It is not tall enough to stand up in, however the square footage is much greater than arching the panels. We also graze animals along side this run without any additional fencing.
These beautiful red comet hens have given me wonderful light brown eggs for the past 2 years. I especially like this breed. They are hardy, good layers ,fairly calm, but they are not as meaty as the other breeds of brown egg layers. I usually sell these hens after a couple of years and put the heavier, dual purpose breeds in the freezer.
from the outside of the coop we gather the eggs several times a day
straw in the bottom of the boxes help keep the eggs clean and unbroken
add the egg shells to the compost pile, sprinkle around the bottom of tomatoes
to help prevent blossom end rot
or crush them and feed them back to the hens to ensure
hard shells in future egg production
|original art work of a rooster we had several years ago|
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A couple of earlier post about my experiences and thoughts about raising chickens
Here are a few photos of our beautiful, organic, vegetable farm.
Our Booth at Market
Just picked radishes.
Turks Turban Squash
One of the Green Houses at Cricket Song Farm
Check out all the information you can find about raising vegetables and animals on this blog by using the search box located in the right hand column.
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