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4.06.2012

Hello Chickens!

I'm sure you've all been wondering what my chickens are up to.  No?  Well tough, I'm telling you anyway.

They've been doing a lot of this.


And this.
 And this.

And definitely a of this (they're dustbathing under the truck as well, but you can't see it).
 And just generally decorating up the farm.

Right now they are truly fully free ranged birds- I have closed the run off completely because it looks like this:

There is NO WAY I'm keeping my birds cooped up in that wasteland when there is yummy grass and weeds and bugs all over- they eat so much more feed when they don't have forage, I get better eggs when they do, and besides it would be just plain mean to keep them inside in spring!  So I've closed the run off (you can't see it, but I have some old chicken wire stapled to the front of the A frame, so they still have access to that extra coop space) completely and seeded it.  My plan is to let it grow for now, then eventually the current birds will be moved to the new run with a summer shelter (while still free ranging part time), while some of the chicks will live in this run, since the hawks only seem to bother juveniles and chicks (and the new run won't be covered, while this run is).  But this plan seems to change daily...

And of course there are these guys.
Yeah, the picture makes them look a little creepy, but they're adorable, I assure you.  They are my new Buckeye and Buckeye/Dark Cornish Cross (not at all to be confused with Cornish Cross Broilers) and there are 14 total.  They are the friendliest chicks I have ever had- every one of them comes running any time my hand enters the brooder (because sometimes that hand bears a little millet, so they have to check EVERY SINGLE TIME).  I decided on Buckeyes after much research and reflection on what I wanted out of a chicken, and was able to find a breeder less than an hour from me (score!).  I plan to breed these as true dual purpose birds, using them for both meat and eggs.  My eventual plan is to phase out meat specific hybrids once I have enough Buckeyes and/or acceptable barnyard crosses to meet our meat needs while keeping enough to breed as well.  In the mean time, since the best way to develop a good meat bird is to eat the smallest and breed the biggest, I'll still be raising meat birds so we have enough.

I will also be adding some brown egg layer hybrids and some colored broilers, and possibly a few more Ameraucanas (well, Easter Eggers if you want to be technical) just because I enjoy them so much and like having a few blue eggs in each carton.  I will be using every chicken tractor I own plus building a new permanent run adjacent to the garden (for summer use only), more coop space in shed (for winter use, so not terribly urgent... yet), and possibly another tractor out of an old truck cap (or truck topper, depending on what part of the country you live in).

This post has been shared on Frugally Sustainable's Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways blog hop- check it out for more great posts!

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