Finally warmed up enough to move the chooks to their new digs outside on grass. Finished the chicken tractor, butchered the two cranky roosters that came with the hens and set the hens in. They were pretty apprehensive at first touch of soil and grass, but now, of course, they even want more! However, here in north Missouri, being completely free results in foxes, coyotes, eagles, hawks, owls, dogs, raccoons, opossums, and skunks getting fat on fresh chicken. So chooks must be contained and protected.
As per my previous post about farmyard chooks, this is a losing proposition, but essential if you want grass raised chickens. Sure, you can buy eggs with dark yolks, but those are either developed by feeding GMO corn (could be organic open pollinated corn, but highly unlikely) or ground marigold. Eating grass does it as well. The diet of a hen does not determine its shell colour. Some hens lay brown eggs, some lay white, some lay rainbow – but that’s genetic – not diet.
So the growing phase is all but completed and the chooks are old enough to tolerate this late winter weather, so the tedium is now to collect quality eggs each day, continue to feed and water them, and drag their tractor around the yard. How long will that will be ‘fun’?
Update since moving this ‘tractor’ to the yard – it’s been cold, snowy, windy, and downright miserable up until a couple days ago (22 April 18). Their enclosure is doing the job, but it is too heavy for many to drag around and the grass isn’t even tall yet! Solves the problem of blowing away, but creates another. Plus, it just really is ugly. So, if i don’t get the chooks sold in the next week or so, I’ll go to using an older and better version of egg mobile (thankfully, although i built it several years ago, i hadn’t taken apart) and buy a poultry netting.