Avian Aqua Miser: Automatic, poop-free chicken waterers

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Too cool to forage

Chickens in the weedsAlthough our second batch of chicks is free ranging, our first batch failed miserably at their most recent opportunity to graze in the woods.  We've spent the last year slowly building fences that nearly enclose our entire garden, so I thought we might get away with letting the eleven week old broilers walk out a new pophole in the back of their coop and explore the powerline cut and woods beyond.  That morning, I closed off access to the two pastures they're familiar with, opened the new pophole....

...and waited, and waited, and waited.  Finally, around 3 pm, I got sick of hearing cooped up birds fluttering around inside their house and I decided to roust them out.  One by one, I tossed cockerels and pullets out the pophole and into the lush new pasture.  At first, they tried to scurry back inside out of terror, but once I got more than half the flock outside, they achieved critical mass and started to band together.  Proud of myself, I headed back inside for a rest.

Chickens separated by a fenceAn hour later, I noticed that a quarter of the broilers had flown over the fence, into their old pasture!  Yes, they are such scaredy-cats that they'd rather be in an over-grazed, familiar place than exploring new, cicada-filled terrain.  The non-fliers were huddled against the fence, trying to be as close to their brethren as possible.  No one was taking advantage of the yummy wild food.

Two hours after I pushed birds out the pophole, they had followed the fenceline back to the one break in our homestead perimeter.  Since the chickens were too close to the garden (and wanted to go back inside anyway), I herded the flock back into their old pasture and shut the gate.  I guess they'll have to cope with worn out pasture for another week until they hit the freezer.

Our chicken waterer keeps the flock well-hydrated with POOP-free water.

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