Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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Chickens and pigs

Rooster and piglet

Mark and I are about 50% decided to finally branch out into new livestock this year.  Long-time readers will know I've seriously considered dairy goats and sheep, but pigs just have a lot going for them as starter livestock for our farm.  Most importantly, I remember seeing hand-lettered signs on the bulletin board in our local post office last spring about weanling pigs for sale, which means we could buy a couple of piglets, raise them as "broilers" and then put them in the freezer in the fall.  Another bonus is that we'd need to do a lot of ripping up perennials to turn any new areas into pasture, and pigs are really good at ripping things up.  Even though there would definitely be a learning curve, fattening two pigs would be a low-enough-risk proposition that it got the Mark seal of approval.

Hen on pigThe big question in my mind is --- what's the best way to mix pigs and chickens?  Some books would have you believe that you can't let chickens wander into the pig pen or the hogs will scarf down their feathered friends.  On the other hand, free range pigs seem to be healthy and happy enough that they don't need to hunt chickens, as the beautiful photos on the Sugar Mountain Farm Blog (a couple of which I've stolen for this post) attest.  The author of the blog actually lets his chickens go wherever they want and doesn't feed them anything through the summer months since there's so much excess food around the pigs.

Year of the PigThe deciding factor in whether 2013 will be the year of the pig is transportation.  Mark and I just don't like electric fencing, and I've saved enough cash to fence in a third of an acre in cattle panels.  But since our truck had to go to the crusher last year and our golf cart got damaged by a flood in January, we're a bit stuck on how we'd get heavy cattle panels from the store to our parking area and then from the parking area a third of a mile through the woods to our pasture.  Something may materialize in the next couple of months, and if not, I'm content with waiting for next year, although I'd rather not put off new livestock until the real Year of the Pig in 2019.

Our chicken waterer makes it easy to keep free range flocks on pasture.

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Although this is a heavy solution, it's very inexpensive, or free if you have plenty of t-posts on hand and you can find some free pallets. Love this idea.


Comment by Dave V. Friday evening, February 8th, 2013
Dave V. --- Heavy is, unfortunately, a deal breaker with our current lack of transportation. But otherwise it looks like a cool idea!
Comment by anna late Monday morning, February 11th, 2013

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