Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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Forest pasture (and flock) progress

Black australorp chickOur chicken pasture rotation experiment hit a snag in early May for two reasons.  First, when I let our two and a half week old chicks out on pasture, they took to it like ducks to water.  The trouble is that the chicks were too small to contain, so they were able to go into whichever pasture they pleased, slipping through holes in the chicken wire and coop walls.  The flock never strayed too far from home, so they didn't get into trouble, but they did graze all of the best spots in all of the pastures, nixing any rotation data for this month.  It's hard to complain, though, when their storebought food consumption plummeted to half of its previous levels, despite the chicks being considerably larger than they were a week before.  (Look at the size of this chick's crop after being outside all day!)

Mean roosterMeanwhile, and less pleasantly, our gentleman rooster turned one year old and decided to reinvent himself.  No longer mild, he took to rushing me every time I entered the pasture, flogging my leg with his wings.  For the short term, I moved the adult flock back into the far pasture they had just left (the true forest pasture) so that I didn't have to walk in his personal space, and once we no longer need his sperm, the rooster will be heading for the chopping block.  I've read that it's possible to work with your rooster to make him less aggressive, but the truth is that his genetics aren't worth the trouble when we've got plenty of amazing foragers growing up to take his place.

Our five gallon chicken waterer means I won't have to go into the mean rooster's pasture for a month.

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LOVE the photo of the baby chick with its crop so stuffed full, it looks like it could explode. Just needs a warm spot to lay down in and digest.

I just love photos of happy chicks.

Comment by Amy late Friday morning, May 20th, 2011
I know what you mean. I think I've taken about two hundred chick photos this week... :-)
Comment by anna late Friday evening, May 20th, 2011
he looks as if he knows his days are numbered in that picture
Comment by Phil late Friday evening, May 20th, 2011
Yeah, he does seem to be giving me the evil eye lately....
Comment by anna Saturday evening, May 21st, 2011
I was wondering if you had cicadas there yet and whether the chickens were snapping them up. We've had a huge and noisy brood of the 13 year cicadas for about three weeks now here in Alabama. They are starting to die off. Too bad we don't raise any poultry, but I'm guessing they would add a lot of protein forage for birds and the rest will help contribute soil fertility when they die off.
Comment by Lisa Wednesday afternoon, May 25th, 2011
I was just looking that up to see if we were likely to get this brood, but it looks like since we're in the mountains, we count as the north and just get 17 year cicadas. (http://www.magicicada.org has fascinating information....) So no free, yummy snacks for our chickens, but I love your thought patterns!
Comment by anna early Friday morning, May 27th, 2011

wondering if this roosters descendants are just as aggressive? I know this is years old, but I just found this blog and have lots of reading. Thank you for posting these

Comment by Maureen Peterson Sunday evening, December 13th, 2015
Maureen --- That's a good question! There seems to be enough variability in our flocks' genetics that we're usually able to select a milder rooster out of the bunch.
Comment by anna mid-morning Monday, December 14th, 2015

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