I wanna say that free range pastured poultry is a problem free method of chicken propagation. Using electric fencing protects from surrounding terrain but leaves the sky open to intruders. It doesn't cover the chickens in case of hawk attack. The field I have the chickens in is in a "holler" surrounded by trees, sounds great you say? It's like running the gauntlet says the chickens. Since the begining of my chicken raising career I have lost chickens to a host of things all with their tell tale kill methods. The Hawk though seems the most magical in it's method- they just disappear. I haven't ever seen a hawk attack, those hawk eyes know when I'm lookin'. But Gramma saw one taking a dive off a tree day before yesterday, headed behind the garage where the chickens hide out. That evening when we went to put up chickens for the night good ole' blackfoot was missing. She was mean as hell and i'm sure got in a few licks before going down. Or up as the case seems to be. After several of these disappearances during the daylight hours I must admit defeat. In my situation I'm afraid that the chicken tractor is going to be the only way to raise chickens without keeping a good many for hawk feed. Don't get me wrong, I love those things, but is there anyone who knows of a chicken protecting dog or donkey/dog mix that will allow the pasture raising of chickens?
Hard to believe in this day and age that live animals can be shipped via U.S. mail. Order newly hatched chicks these days and you can get them shipped to your post office. Evidently each chick has the remainder of the yolk sack inside them that will last for several days. It can take that long for the last of the eggs to hatch, and the mother won't move until the last egg hatches. This gives chicken breeders about three days to get them through the mail. Last year was my first time doing this, and boy was my mail lady anxious to get me there for pick up. When I entered the building loud chirps could be heard immediately. A cacophony of tiny bird sounds, unbelievably load, pouring from the mailroom. The look of relief on the mail ladies face upon my announcement of pickup could be FELT. I cradled the box under one arm and rushed to the old dodge to make my way home. The sound was deafening, such tiny bodies, such piercing sound. My poor poor mail lady.
That day I won't soon forget, the long ride home and the dismay at finding the almost mummified remains of several chicks that did't make it. They do send extras in the event of catastrophe but somehow that doesn't make up for the loss. Then there is the dunking of each little beak into the water as you transfer them to their new home. Let me tell you, allowing your hen to go broody doesn't sound like the worst thing in the world after all that mess. I could rename farming to "101 ways to make your life harder" , like this is really better than letting hens hatch out their own chicks.
Born in New Hampshire and raised in Maine, Eva's passion for living self sustainably began with Helen and Scott Nearing. Both were homesteaders who carved their lives from the land. Eva now lives in Eastern West Virginia, with her husband Dain and daughter Shayna, carving out her own life.