Friday, July 8, 2016

The conundrum of chickens.

Obviously I'm using old photos today given that this shows Boris and our old girls, but I wanted to talk about chickens, and letting them express their chickenness. There's a balance to be had as long as you don't have infinite money with chickens. It's the balance of safety versus comfort/freedom that comes up in many ways.

Financially we're sort of on the extreme end of this since we basically have been working with what we can get our hands on instead of what we want to buy. The electronetting is kind of an exception, and is a great deterrent for terrestrial predators. That obviously doesn't help with aerial predators as we saw from Boris's end. Now how we've combated aerial predators is either the orange construction netting over the little fenced in yard area, or giving them a lot of tall grass for cover. The down side to keeping in the little run is, they definitely don't have enough room. By technical standards they do have more than enough room per chicken given the number of chickens we kept in that coop. The official standards are 4 ft/chicken inside and 10 ft/chicken out in the run. The run is 120 sq ft, and the coop 24 sq ft. We had 6 chickens, so technically that should be completely fine.
In our experience though we've seen that chickens need more space than that to really go and do chicken things. I'm sure that chickens can be healthy in smaller spaces, but as I've gotten to know them I think that a lot of space is important. Electronetting and having the ability to move them around  and let them meander through new places regularly is great. The trade off there is, there is no real way to protect them from aerial predators other than some portable shelter, hope, and presence of something that bothers hawks. In the end my experience with chickens so far tells me, having them out, roaming around, and being chickens is worth losing one from time to time. It's when you lose all of them to a fox that it's a problem. With that in mind, until we get an aerial predator that gets everyone in one go, our focus is happy chickens with protection from terrestrial threats.

As a last note, right now our Go Fund Me has stalled out a bit. We're moving along, and working on getting things fixed up as we go. Any help is greatly appreciated.

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