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

One bad bird spoils the flock

Chickens in the garden
"I'm kind of curious what your problems are with [your Australorp pullets]. Other than going broody at the drop of a hat, I've always found them to be easy and reliable."
--- Julie

Australorps are our favorites too, and in this case their frequent invasions of the garden are entirely my fault. We had a pesky mixed flock last year full of all kinds of troublesome varieties, and the last three old hens ended up being so bad I stuffed them in with the young Australorps for a week before their freezer day.

Unfortunately, a week was long enough to teach the young flock some of their bad tricks. Plus, the one male chick who came with this set of layers got eaten by a predator early on, leaving the hen party without a reason to stick together. To cut a long story short, our pullets are currently flying fences and seeking out pasture holes with wild abandon.

The stop-gap measure has been to shore up our exterior fences and let the girls run in the woods, where they have plenty to keep them occupied. But Mark's talking about maybe embarking on another round of tractor-building this fall combined with a coop/pasture renovation. We'll see how much oomph we have for long-term solutions as my energy levels slowly return.

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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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Trim the feathers on one side of the hen,makes it a lot harder to clear the fence.
Comment by wewally Mon Sep 12 15:07:38 2016
I agree with wewally. We had a few birds who kept going over the fence and trimming their flight feathers turned out to be a Really easy solution! My husband held each bird and I trimmed their feathers, and we were done in no time. From what I've read this should only need to be done a couple of times per year, so it's a really time/cost effective option.
Comment by Rae Mon Sep 12 19:56:11 2016

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