Welcome to Local FarmMany of our events are organized collaboratively with the non-profit Motherhouse, Inc. For regular updates on their eggscellent Old Style Life-Skills Series of workshops for the backyard farmer/homesteader, subscribe to the free Motherhouse newsletter, and/or "Like" Motherhouse on Facebook and receive reminders and reports of these and udder eggsciting events.
Category Archives: EGGSploits
In anticipation of hosting Motherhouse’s Old Style Life-Skills workshop, EGGSperience Chickens, we ordered 2 dozen meat birds from Hoovers’ Hatchery in Rudd, IA. An excited call from the Post Office heralded their arrival, today.Inside the box were a straight run each of 12 Cornish Crosses and 12 Red Rangers. A “straight run” means the chicks have not been examined to determine their sex and the parcel includes both male and female chicks.Back at Local Farm, we opened the box. You can see the lighter colored Cornish Crosses on the left and the reddish Rangers in the compartment on the right.After transferring them into our brooder box under a heat lamp, Francisco dipped each chick’s beak into the waterer. He feels that showing the chicks how to drink will greatly increase their survival rate.Then he tapped the feed dish with his fingernail so it sounded like a hen eating and showing her chicks where to find food. It seemed to work and very soon the chicks were all chowing and drinking with abandon. .. growing up quick for the Oct. 12th Chicken EGGSperience!
Vulture came to us from our friend, Tal, in Sherman, CT after her free ranging flockmates met with a mysterious end. Vulture is a very friendly Black Australorp hen. Not knowing how well she’d be received by our tiny flock of Silver-Laced Wyandottes and Ameraucanas, we kept her in a separate cage in the barn until night. Then when our hens had gone to roost, we perched her next to the others. We kept everyone cooped up all the next day so she’d get the idea that this was home. The next morning, we let everyone out. That night she came right along… slowly… after the other hens. I scooped her up and carried her back to join the others in the safety of the secured coop for the night. Now she looks and acts as if this has been home all her life! Here are the girls dust bathing in the shade of the silo. Australorps originally came from Australia. Wyandottes were developed in the US. Ameraucanas are also a US breed but have been developed from a strain of chicken from Chili.
While visiting the Gilmore family’s Stone Silo Farm, we were quite impressed with the chicken tractor designed and built by their daughter Stephanie.
She can move the entire coop and run by lifting the bar across the back of the run and pushing or pulling the unit like a wheel barrow.
A short, wide window near the top of the coop provides light and ventilation.
Heavy duty wheels support the coop and make for easy handling.
Chickens lay their eggs in nest boxes that can be accessed from outside the coop. Note the overhanging roof to keep rain off the boxes and the locking hasp to discourage coons from breaking in.
Inside the nest box, the eggs stay clean and dry – ready to be gathered.
The entire back wall of the coop is hinged and split like a Dutch door for easy access for cleaning and feeding. 1″ saplings span the space as roosts.
The Gilman’s had a second chicken tractor that was commercially-made and could be hitched to a tractor and moved.
Its nest boxes had their own sloped rooftop.
A ramp could be slid out of a small door for the chickens to walk in and out of the coop to free-range during the day. Although not easy to see in the above photos, Stephanie’s design also had a ramp for the hens to walk down from the coop into the enclosed “run.” The ramp could be levered closed at night, securely closing the hens in the coop.
These fascinating structures are called tractors because they move, they carry chicken feed, they mow fields, and they fertilize the soil!
At Local Farm, we use another style chicken tractor to raise broilers and layers for the Motherhouse Old style Life-Skills Series workshop: EGGSperience Chickens.