Thursday, February 2, 2012

Free Rangin'

On our farm we allow our chickens to roam free.  When they are given the chance to peck at bugs and grass anywhere they get more variety in their diet, plus the needed exercise.  This in turn creates more nutritional eggs for us!  We did an experiment a few weeks ago that we will have to do again to show you the difference in a store bought, factory produced egg and one of our free roaming eggs...there is a BIG difference in the yolk color and in the taste.  We will post pictures when we do it.  Back to the reason for this post....
Today we found eggs in the hammick!!  When you gotta lay, you've gotta lay I guess!!  No time to make it to the coop.  And the reason for so many in one spot?  Well, what we've learned by watching is once one hen lays in a particular spot, the rest follow.  It's kind of funny....we have 10 laying boxes for our 26 hens yet they all lay in one box!!  And now the hammick as well!

On a sad note, there is a down side to allowing the hens to free range....we have lost 2 to predators :(  They do have a coop for safety where they roost at night, but sometimes the door is left open(we're working on that new responsibility), or they don't all make it in before the door gets closed.  They may choose a tree branch to roost on instead (we don't always do a head count, we just assume they're all in).  We lost our rare double tufted bantam araucana and one of momma's favorites...a buff orpington, three nights ago.  We are now more careful about making sure all the hens are in the coop before the door is shut! 

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