Our First Free Range and 3 Things I’ve learned about Raising Chickens

We decided to let the Chickens do a little free-ranging yesterday after spotting a chunk of our lawn that had been infested with Grubs.

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Turns out, Free-Ranging can be a fun activity for the whole family:

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The chickens loved it, and so did we.

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Looks like we’ll  be making this a regular treat for both parties.

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And, now that we’ve been chicken owners for 10 weeks, here are a few things I’ve learned:

  1. Chickens poop.  A lot.  Luckily though, we built a coop on wheels so we can move it around, rake the droppings into the grass, and call it free fertilizer.  If you are thinking about raising your own chicks some day, I highly recommend building or buying one that can be moved to different areas of your yard.  This will let the lawn recover from where the chickens have ‘ranged’ and allow for easier cleanup.
  2. Chickens have personalities. Turns out, the term “pecking order” is the real deal when it comes to chickens.  Mia, the biggest of the three, is the most dominant.  She is the first one into the coop at night and calls the others to follow in behind her. She is the first to the food, or water and will peck at the others to hold her position as top chick.  Poppy, is the most daring. We call it a “him” because it’s the little man’s chicken.  Poppy will be he first one to hop out of the coop and run away from us when we try and put him into the roost.  Phoebe, the smallest of the group is the most timid.  She is the last one into the roost at night, and the first one out in the morning – as if the other’s make her go down the ramp and check to make sure things are ‘safe’ for the more dominant chickens to come down.   She also has the prettiest chirp… its more of a purring yodel than a chirp.
  3. Chickens are easy “Pets.” Once our coop was built the only maintenance they require is replenishing water and food. We change the shavings about once a week depending on how hot it is/how much time they spend in the roost (weather is the biggest factor here).  Chickens don’t like to get wet.  So if it’s a rainy week – we’ll probably need to change the coop shavings every few days.  We bought a self replenishing chicken feeder so I’d say about 1 – 2 times a week I put more food in, and the water – depending on the heat- needs to be changed whenever it gets low… the bigger the waterer, the less you’ll need to change it.

So far, we’re still happy about our decision to raise chickens.  We’re hoping, with a little luck, we’ll start getting eggs by the end of the summer… and THEN, the real fun begins.

Thanks for stopping by!  Happy Memorial Day!

 

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