This past weekend I posted a video to my face book page of our chickens and their house. I’ve been asked why we don’t free range our girls.
I’m not of the mind that you have to free range your chickens in order for them to be healthy and happy. However, I will share that when we first started out with chickens about three years ago I did try free ranging them and it was awful because two of the neighborhood dogs got three of the girls and they died a horrible death. When that happened it almost completely turned me away from raising any animals on our little homestead. And we didn’t for about a year.
But, I really really wanted some chickens so the Z Man built a chicken house that he is able to move around the yard so the girls can get fresh grass and it keeps the grass from dying off.
Their house is double wired and even has wire wrapped on the bottom to discourage predators from getting to them. We want them as safe as possible.
They have a roost inside the house and three laying boxes, although they only use one for laying eggs. We’ve never had more than 6 chickens at one time, and it has proven to be enough room for them.
Because the house is built partially over their run it somewhat protects them from the weather too.
Our chickens are happy and healthy and I don’t feel like we have given them any less quality of life because we choose to house them. We choose to keep them safe. Yes they feed us and we have and will continue to cull our chickens as needed, but we also treat them as pets.
They get plenty of fresh vegetables from the gardens and from the kitchen in the colder months. We do feed them chicken feed and I put oregano from the herb garden in their water every week which acts as a natural antibiotic. Sometimes they even get a little whey from the raw milk.
The Z Man built their home and took great consideration for their needs before constructing it. He did a fine job and it has proven to be a happy arrangement for all of us.
Every homestead is different, and we can’t all do things the same way because nature and environment doesn’t allow it. But we can share ideas and examples and use what works for us and leave what doesn’t for the next person.
The same holds true for our hogs. We do not have the room to free range our hogs, so they live in a pin and get the same treatment as the chickens.
My Grandma and great Uncle Jimmy kept their farm animals in pins, and if it was good enough for them, then it’s surely good enough for me.
No, not all homesteads are run the same way. But I believe that we all live by the same principle. Live well, take care of yourself and your family and don’t expect others to do for you. And just keep it simple.
Till next time,