The Chickens & The Egg Mobile

Everyone wants to come say hi

A few weeks ago I posted about the end of the guinea mobile and how we were in the process of transitioning to an official egg mobile with laying chickens and all. A lot of people don't realize that there are specific chickens for laying eggs and specific ones for growing meat. When I say 'laying chickens' I'm talking about the egg layers. In our case, the breeds we have are Wyandottes, Rhode Island Reds, one Black Giant and one Leghorn/RIR cross. A neighbor of ours was looking to reduce his layer flock, so we adopted 11 of his egg laying chickens and 3 of his roosters.

We ate two roosters and kept Axel, who you can see below. He was by far the largest of the roosters, but also the friendliest and so far he's done a great job keeping the hens safe. Whenever I drive by the goat's paddock I see all the hens run under the coop and Axel standing guard in front of them. All the hens follow him around, it's pretty fun to watch. They also have Izzy (one of our Livestock Guardian Dogs), who you can see in the photos, with them at all times. She barks at low-flying birds and wards off other predators. She's great with poultry, unlike our puppies who are still prone to chasing.

Axel, the egg mobile's head honcho

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The End of the Guinea Mobile

The Guinea Mobile in its day of glory

You may remember back in the summer when we first rolled the guinea mobile out to pasture. With 20+ guineas onboard it was quite a ruckus. After our "House Guineas" amazed us with their tick destroying abilities we decided to see if a team of "Field Guineas" could do the same for the rest of the property. The guinea mobile would also provide shade and shelter for the goats. In the latter respect it performed admirably. The goats are always dry when it's raining and cool in the shade when it's hot. When it comes to the whole "guinea housing" aspect, however, it's over.

It all happened in September/October when the guinea mobile was in a paddock near the house. Since we move the goats on a regular basis and the guinea mobile always goes with the goats it was just a matter of time before the goats and their guinea mobile made their way close to the house. In the back of my mind I worried that the respective guinea clans would hear each other and form a pack. I figured if anything the House Guineas would join the Field Guineas since the Field Guineas had a bigger posse. Then we'd be out of luck for tick control around the house... and that would be a disaster come spring.

In reality, it happened the other way around.

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Of Guineas and Guard Dogs

Almost two months ago I posted about the guinea egg mobile that we built and rolled out into the pastures. The purpose of the guinea egg mobile is for pest control, but eventually they'll also lay some might fine eggs. At the same time the egg mobile provides shade and shelter for the goats. The guineas are great foragers, so we feed them a nominal amount of feed in order to keep them coming back to the egg mobile, but other than that they’re on their own.

Guinea keets on their first day out
At first the guinea keets were still quite small (only 6 weeks old), so they remained in the coop, getting accustomed to home for another 3-4 weeks. We laid fresh hay on the floor of the coop and after about a week the keets would eat it and scratch it through the cracks. We would replace with new hay and the process repeats. It worked well, but we were really looking forward to having them out free-ranging.

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