The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Chicken TV

Month old chicks in a dominance displayMy brother and I sat by the chicken pasture for an hour on Saturday, watching the game.  "Look!" I exclaimed.  "Cock fight!"  Two chicks faced off, their ruff feathers standing on end.  After several seconds of staring, one cockerel leapt into the air, and the other fled all the way back to the coop.

Then, more drama.  25 pairs of eyes peered upwards, and then 25 pairs of feet hit the ground as every chick ran for shelter.  "Hawk!  Hawk!  Hawk!" they were clearly thinking, although the dark shape swooping down from above was just a butterfly.

Dark Cornish cockerelFor our continued amusement, I went inside and brought out the bucket of chicken scraps --- the first time our chicks had been fed human food.  But the cockerels were confused by the odd shapes and instead preferred to run after aerial insects, capturing them in flight.

All chicken amusement aside, I'm excited that our chicken pasture experiment is underway.  If any of you have had experience raising foraging chickens, I'd appreciate it if you'd fill out our poll.  Once I come up with an appropriate prize, we'll be starting an exciting chicken pasture contest shortly --- stay tuned!

Our homemade chicken waterer is an integral part of any chicken range system.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Comment by brett Thu Apr 29 23:56:53 2010
It sounds like we're on very similar tracks! You can read about our current plans for our forest pasture experiment at On the first paddock, we're letting them eat longer than you recommend on your page, but I hope to plant buckwheat here and want to lose more of the vegetation than I would in a week. We need to get started on our next paddocks soon, though!
Comment by anna Fri Apr 30 07:58:23 2010

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