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It will soon be time to add
supplemental light to your chicken coop if you don't want egg production
to drop off.
A little door on the top of a
chicken tractor makes it easier to add scraps.
We're trying an idea from a
comment on a recent sunflower
The one downside to all the
recent chicken tractor repairs has been weight gain.
We upgraded our chicken
tractor water container to a 2 gallon bucket.
One of these days, we'll
get our act together and really grow the majority of our chickens'
feed. At the moment, we put most of that kind of energy into keeping our pastures green,
figuring that the health benefits of an endless salad bar are more
important than changing the bulk of our chickens' diet over from
store-bought corn and soybeans to homegrown grains.
However, we're also always experimenting with things we can do on a
small scale to make homegrown foods a larger percentage of our flock's
Another feed we've been
giving for a while, but are using slightly differently this year, is
over-mature summer squash and cucumbers. In the past, I've just
stepped on these mammoths in hopes of getting a few seeds to squirt out
and tempt the chickens to peck, but cutting up the over-large cucurbits
has been much more effective. Chickens will nibble at the flesh
of these monstrosities, but the seeds have most of the nutrition and
they know it, so anything you can do to make the seeds more accessible
is worth the effort.
On a more experimental front, we're trying out sending some of our food scraps into a black-soldier-fly bin this year rather than giving them all straight to the chickens. Whether we'll get more bang for our buck this way is still up for debate,
but since our bin can take bits of onions, cabbages, and other foods
that our chickens mostly turn up their noses at, it might be a
win-win. (If you drink coffee, the grounds are also an excellent
bin addition that wouldn't be good for chickens in their original
form.) Stay tuned for further updates.
Finally, I've been planting more sunflowers as cover crops,
hoping that we might end up with some seeds to give our chickens in the
winter. Similarly, my mom gave me a packet of sorghum seeds which
I opted to plant with the chickens (rather than molasses) in
mind. We didn't devote much space and energy to either planting,
but if they're particularly successful, we can always expand for next
Christopher sent in the beautiful photo above as an entry in our photo contest. He wrote:
"I have not done anything particularly clever with the kit, but it works really well and the chickens took to it right away. I wasn't going to enter, but in honour of our first chicken laying it's first egg (the other four seem to be keeping their legs crossed) today, I figured I would send in some pics anyway. In the photos you can also see the starplate coop inspired by yours!"
I've been enjoying seeing the entries to our photo contest coming in, especially the ones that showcase homemade EZ Misers. The cinderblock-top mounting method that we use in our own coop and pastures does
seem to be everyone's favorite way of getting the chicken nipples up to
bird eye level. The two photos shown here are courtesy of Mindy
(top photo) and Jamie (and her Orpingtons).
The first chicken contest
I've registered for in years is going on right now!
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