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

Near miss

Chickens in the garden

I was relaxing on the futon with two snuggly cats and a good book when the hawk swooped down out of nowhere.  "Aaaah!" I shrieked and our more skittish cat fled the house just as fast as our tweens scattered in terror.

Chicken running awayI couldn't tell at first whether anyone had been taken.  The tweens had gone to ground under the trailer or in the weeds and wouldn't come out no matter how much grain I rattled.

Slowly, they crept forth.  Eight chickens, nine chickens, twelve chickens.  Finally, all fourteen tweens were accounted for --- thank goodness!

I've been reading that even in optimal pastured situations, less than a quarter of the chickens are willing to brave the great outdoors at any given time.  I can just imagine farmers prodding Cornish Cross out the door of the coop --- "When I was your age, chickens played outside!  No TV-watching, couch potatoes on my farm!"

Repeated studies have shown that adding trees or bushes to a pasture entices more chickens outside.  Now I know why.  Could our forest pastures be the reason we've never had a hawk attack until now?

Our chicken waterer keeps the flock healthy so they can sprint for cover.

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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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Glad that hawk didn't take any of your chickens. I bet that really was a stressful couple minutes until they all came up accounted for.
Comment by Fritz Mon Oct 17 09:24:41 2011
Yep, I was pretty stressed out until I could count heads. On the other hand, even if one had been taken, I think it would have been worth it to let them free range at this time of year. I've been very impressed by how little damage they've done in the garden (too small to scratch much yet) and they've been eating a lot less feed than other batches.
Comment by anna Mon Oct 17 11:24:51 2011

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