We spent time getting the chickens moved from the pasture to the greenhouse and they seem to be enjoying their winter home.
But we have one chicken in particular who is keeping a routine of her own.
Each morning, we get up and open the doors to the greenhouse so the chickens can roam within the protection of their poultry net fencing. Most of them are capable of flying over the fencing if they choose to (we don't clip their wings), but only one chicken does.
As soon as the door opens and they all file outside.... one little white leghorn runs to the edge of the fencing, flies over it, and walks swiftly across the field.
|A photo of her daily pilgrimage to the barn as seen from our front windows on one cold morning...|
Once in the barn, she clucks loudly at the barn cats who quickly vacate their heated bed area... and
the chicken enters as the cats look on. And that is where she lays her egg. Every.Single.Day. We need to name her as she is has quite the independent spirit! (Any ideas for a name? Please send us a note with your ideas!)
After she lays her egg, she wanders back to the greenhouse area, picking up bugs and grasses as she goes. Eventually she flies back over the fencing and spends the evening with the rest of the flock.
The other chickens are happy in their greenhouse home and never leave the area. The baby chicks will be laying in early spring and we are enjoying raising little ones again. These 45 chicks are Black Sexlinks, and are about 8 weeks old. They are sectioned off from the older chickens so they are protected, and so they stay only on their grower ration of feed. (Too much calcium in the adult laying hen's feed can be dangerous to a growing chick.)
They are already getting friendly with us and are excited to see us. We try to make them friendly so when it comes time to move them out to pasture, or move the fencing to another area, they are willing participants! Many farmers would say we are odd, perhaps, being so friendly with our animals when there is so much other work to do. But friendly chickens makes for good teamwork. And teamwork saves a lot of time when on the pasture moving them around. ;-) It also helps us see easily if a chicken is ill or needs anything from us. Thankfully, we've had no illness in any of our flocks!
- Gives the chickens a safe place at night away from hungry predators.
- Gives the chickens a place to be out of the weather when needed.
- Keeps the nest boxes and eggs cleaner during muddy weather which comes with fall and winter
- Gives us a "rest" (of sorts) by containing all we need to service the chickens each day, and gives us a relatively warm working area (no trudging out to a distant field in the snow!)
Heat lamps keep the chickens water from freezing on cold nights and additional sleeping heat lamps are provided for the young chicks. They are cozy until the spring thaw!
Enjoying the change of the seasons... Happy Winter!
For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted; Ecc 3:1-2