Coop new chicks May 2014</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/user16637109″>catalyst-coop</a>
; on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a>
Watch video first.
About a month ago I noticed the classic signs of broodiness in two of my chickens, this was great news to me as I was not able to afford an electronic brooder this spring as I had planned. So I was happy to utilize the situation and further my goals of efficiency. I will not go into the basics about broody hens with this post/video, I will simply be catalyzing those who are ‘ready’ in regard to their own chicken-system aspirations. But, I will say a chicken is either broody or not, and you cannot apparently make them so. Thus, many of the eggs under the girl I am about to speak of, are from her since she clearly has this trait. You can break a broody hen, just not make one, so I am voting for breeding it in.
Please go back and review Rotational Paddocks and Chicken Tractor System for details on how my paddock chicken system is setup. It has been built out of approximately %95 salvaged material and is solid as a rock; though rather noisy inside during rain and hail.
The second hen- though indeed trying – continued laying eggs, which, were unmarked by me thus easily noticed and removed from the nest, yet this was a clear sign that she was not truly broody. I should have taken her out earlier and moved some of her eggs under the true momma hen.
Luckily, the first hen was truly broody and even through the stress of moving she stayed with the eggs to the end where 6 of 10 eggs were hatched with not a dollar spent, an hour lost, the time needed to babysit them after birth, or the risk of introducing disease into my flock from store bought chicks.
Also, the small amount of labor it took to give her the separate space was miniscule given the way the paddocks were set up from the beginning. This was hindsight brilliance, yet the ability to separate the chickens for reasons from breeding, rooster pressure, cleansing, slaughter, illness, balance, land pressure, and new recruits was part of the thought process from the beginning.
Notice from the earlier article that I closed in the upper roosting area in the video. I did this in early winter in order to retain some warmth yet being wary of creating stagnate air at the same time. It swings open in front and to one side in order to refresh the bedding and summer air. When this was added the chickens loved their high, secure, and warm roost; thus the lower area was open for new uses… Like a brooding house…
So far Momma hen is a great mom, the second day she already had the chicks out eating, drinking and scratching in the “brooder,” I will watch her close for any signs of annoyance however.
Some say this system is cruel, or prison… I say:
A: This is symbiosis of animal and man, and that should be enough said.
B: From October through March they are free range eating whatever in the home gardens.
C. Their paddocks offer delectable’s they would never find in the wild not to mention protection.
D. I have not lost anything do to predation, not to say it couldn’t happen, but they are safe and they know it.
E. My 7 hens produced 5-7 eggs a day straight through winter without external lighting, that is happy, how about yours?
Well, one more chore has been damned to the inefficient bowls of yesteryear here at the Coop; buying and keeping chicks warm that is…
Until next time, please allow this solemn tune, for my rooster who is singing at the quantum moon… here’s to a quiet day… Click Here for the Tune!