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

What the flock might be thinking

cooped up chickens in a group of 3

I sometimes wonder if our flock ever feels cooped up on a day like today?

view from inside a chicken coop at beak level

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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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We really enjoy your blog & today as I was catching up with yours & others, I read about some chicken watering problems (OVERTHERE, NEVER HERE) & of course I thought of you guys. So, if you haven't already seen it, here is a link to a post by someone that might benefit from knowing about your auto-chicken waterer.... & Happy Trails!
Comment by DogpackMOMMA Sat Jan 8 17:53:00 2011
We appreciate it.
Comment by anna Sun Jan 9 08:55:54 2011
I sometimes wonder that too on our sub zero South East Idaho Days!
Comment by NatureGirl Mon Jan 10 19:48:14 2011
Our girls don't seem to mind much even on the days when they stay in. Of course, that may be because of the new deep bedding which keeps their feet so toasty warm.
Comment by anna Tue Jan 11 07:52:24 2011

Has your egg production increased/decreased/remained the same in your coop as compared to your chicken tractors in winter? How about winter feed consumption?

Comment by Erich Tue Jan 11 13:34:12 2011

Those are great questions, Erich! I wish I had better data for you, but the thing is that we have a very different set of layers than last year since we took our three barely-laying Barred Rocks, a problematic young Golden Comet, and a sick old Golden Comet out of the picture this fall. My best guess based on last year's data is that we're getting the same number of eggs per day per bird (or maybe very slightly more? It's hard to decide now to factor those two Golden Comets out of last year's averages), which is actually pretty good since I suspect our oldest Golden Comets have passed beyond their prime winter laying, even more so than they had last year. I figure that getting the same number of eggs per bird when everyone is a year older is a step up!

In terms of feed consumption, I'm feeding just a hair less than this time last year. Everything's under snow and has been for about six weeks with just a few thaws, so there's really nothing for the chickens to eat other than what I give them. That said, I'm able to focus them more on the food scraps we have (like the few butternuts I let freeze, etc.), which wouldn't have worked so well in the moving tractor environment. (I've found that in a tractor, chickens eat any food scraps which are immediately enticing, but don't come back to the less enticing ones the way they do if they're in a stationary situation.) I hope that'll change when I call the principal of the local school this Friday and beg for cafeteria scraps!

Comment by anna Tue Jan 11 16:36:59 2011

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