Now Available Daily, Farm Fresh Eggs
I never thought I would have chickens. The whole concept amuses my Mother, and irritates my husband. I’m not even sure why the idea got stuck in my head and I decided I had to have chickens to raise my own eggs. I’ll blame it all on my friend Sue, who weeks ago said, “I have an old chicken tractor. Do you want it?”
What’s a chicken tractor? Basically, it’s a mobile chicken pen that allows chickens to peck the ground, be protected, and removes the requirement of shoveling poop.
Ours is simply wire fence over a wooden frame, covered with canvas and a tarp:
At night, the tarp and canvas folds out to cover the whole pen, and each morning, you fold it back to allow them some sun. In this picture, I just have the tarp folded back, and the canvas piece not. The rope you see on the ground to the left of the picture is what I grab to drag it across the yard, morning and evening.
Because the whole thing is mobile, the “roosts” have to be up off of the ground. Sue also provided a drywall bucket, which she uses in her tractors, but I happen to also have on hand several wire baskets from a refrigerator freezer. The bucket hangs from the ceiling of the pen, and the baskets are wired to the sides.
The entire contraption cost us nothing, because it was all put together from items on hand, once Sue provided the tractor itself. We replaced the 2×4 boards around the bottom with landscape timbers, making it a little heavy to pull, but it also will help, in our region, to keep the ‘coons at bay.
In this picture, you can see their mop handle perch, the cut drywall bucket, and one of the wire baskets. Three chickens are on the ground and there is a fourth — she has been inside the bucket all morning.
Two of the chickens already have names. The white one is Miss Fussy. She is not happy with her new surroundings, keeps searching for a way out, and complains quite a bit. Here she is turning her nose (beak) up at the wire basket.
Miss Fussy, so far, seems to be the most dominant. She was the only one found on the perch this morning, and while she doesn’t pick on the others, she seems to not even care that they are there. It’s all about her.
This is Aretha. It’s hard to see the blue reflections on her feathers, or the tufts of small feathers on her cheeks. She pecks at others who try to eat food in her space, but she also likes to lay in the sun with her wings spread out. Right now, their wings are clipped, but they will grow back.
I don’t have any eggs yet today, but Frank said they might be off from the move and the new surroundings. I’ll check again in a little while.
I suppose, if today is the worst of the trip (and it really wasn't that bad) things are going quite well. Jim - our friendly,