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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Postcards from Little Seed - 10.13.12

We've been building a hoop house for hay storage this winter. It's almost finished - we'll be starting on the end walls today!

We were excited to break into one of our 2 week ashed bloomy rind cheeses last week. It was delicious and we can't wait to try them again at 3 weeks! The flavor has amazing depth thanks to the raw milk from our pastured herd. Can't buy cheese like this in the states!

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Feeding, or Not Feeding, the House Birds

Winona, the Wyandotte, and Sassafras (aka Sassy), the Silkie, trying to get broody on the same clutch of eggs

We keep three hens, one rooster and five guineas in a chicken coop near our home. We had a question on Facebook a couple days ago about how much we feed the birds. It turns out that the poultry are really the only animals that we don't keep a good track of how much they're eating. I had to answer honestly, "I don't know".

There's a couple good reasons why I don't know. The first is that we don't feed the birds very much if bugs are still around. If I find a tick in the yard chances are pretty good they won't get any feed the next day. The purpose of the chooks is to lay eggs and eat bugs. The guineas are 100% for eating bugs. Notice how both have "eating bugs" in the job description? Gotta make sure they earn their keep.

Elvis, our silkie rooster

The second good reason why I don't know is because our non-LGD yard dog, Ginger, is an avid chicken feed fan. I see her over at their little feeder licking up grain all the time. We correct her frequently and she always stops.... but she also always comes back for more.  

I do, however, try to give the chooks a little bit of feed every morning to make sure they stick around. I fill up about half a quart in a mason jar and screw it on to their little feeder. If Ginger doesn't get to it there will always be some left at the end of the day.

I guess they're just spoiled by the freedom and the apparently great taste of our bugs.