Monday, June 8, 2009

Poultry Update - Cattle Panel Shelter - Pics

Well, the eggmobile sits empty. Part of the reason we finished it when we did was because the rooster was getting so mean I could hardly get the eggs anymore. Once the birds were out on pasture I could easily gather them at least once a day. Sadly, the hens must have learned to eat their eggs during that week when I wasn't collecting them very often. I first culled the rooster and one hen that I suspected as being the culprit. Unfortunately, the eating continued and we were forced to cull the remaining 5 hens. I am very glad that this happened with such a small flock and not the large one that I hope to have in the future. Lesson learned here: no matter what - get those eggs!!

So, now we have around 121 chickens and no eggs! I haven't decided yet if I'm going to buy a few layers to get us by or just get our eggs from a friend for now. If I bring in new layers now I'll have to mix them with the heritage breed flock when they start laying. If I don't get any now then I'll have to stop trying to build a future client base by handing out free eggs.

The heritage birds moved from our basement to a small brooder in the garage to the old laying flocks quarters in the garage. The colored rangers went directly from the basement to the laying flock quarters then to the cattle panel shelter just in time for the heritage birds to follow. We could have turned one of the two brooding lights off by now except two of the colored rangers have developed pretty nasty sores on their tails so I have them in the small brooder as sort of a hospital pen. The one with the worst sore died this morning, I'm hoping the other pulls through.

The heritage breed chicks are doing great. We had a power outage last week so I brought them in the house to keep warm. Despite my efforts they all piled up and one of the Buff Chanteclers was dead in the morning. The remaining birds are thriving in their new, spacious quarters. You can read more about the breeds I selected and why in my post about that.

I took out some dry straw for the colored rangers in the cattle panel shelter. They've been out there about a week but I only let them out of the shelter and in to the fence this weekend. The electric net has to be working well in order to contain them. Otherwise they can put their head through and push right out.

See the one sprawled out there in the middle? They sure are good at making me think something is wrong. He was just relaxing, of course.

This morning's rain showers tore part of the roof off. I secured it with more baling twine. Pretty fancy! :)

Happily lounging on the fresh, dry straw after I repaired the roof.

I need to have a better feeding and watering system in place for next time. This big feeder from the eggmobile is the only way I can keep food in front of these buggers.

Some prefer to scratch around and explore.

Napping peacefully.

He's trouble, can't you tell!

Here you can see the different colors. Most are dark red but there are some light, almost buff, and some with this neat pattern.

The turkeys are right at home in this small chicken tractor. We found two of these on craigslist and paid $15 total for them.

Aren't they cute!? They really are the sweetest birds I've had.

How are your birds doing? Have you ever tried pasture raised chicken? I am so excited to taste it, although I am really worried about preparing it and working with whole chicken since that will be new to me.


Farmer's Daughter said...

So glad I can live vicariously through your chickens!

BTW- Just posted part II of our love story. Enjoy :)

Julie said...

I love all these pictures. Thanks for sharing. I wish we could have chickens...but I think I already complained about that!

farm mom said...

The colored rangers are the same breed as the freedom rangers people talk so excitedly about aren't they? I'm anxious to know how they work out for you, as we've considered them as well. Your setup looks great, and I cannot wait to hear how you enjoy your own free range chicken and turkey, I just know you'll love it!! :)

Jena said...

FD - Not for long! ;) They're almost chicken dinner.

Julie - Don't worry, I'll keep posting pics for you.

Ang - Yes they are the same as freedom rangers. I'll post a final review when they are done and in the freezer. So far, I couldn't be happier with them. They are hardy, vigorous, and still very friendly. They seem to eat a bit less the last two days since it has been warmer but are managing very well otherwise. I'm so excited to be able to add an almost unlimited supply of chicken to our daily menu options.

Umair FSB said...

Elizabeth, do the panels come in different sizes? I think ours was actually close to 6' tall in the center, chicken coops I'll have to ask my S.O. how much he had to bend to tend the birds! He's 6'4, I'm only 5' so the height was sufficient for me to not have to bend, that I am sure of.