This year we introduced turkeys and meat chickens to the farm and with them came the brooder and chicken tractor.
In the past we’ve split the chicken coop in half and use the left side for new chicks until they are ready for the run. I am pleased this year to have a brooder to start the new chicks.
It’s a blessing to have the chicks raised and easily accessible. No climbing into the coop, stooping to freshen their bedding and change out their water, or negotiating 30 or 40 spastic little chicks that are excited for more feed and nearly falling into the coop or steeping on one in the process.
Now, I will add that this brooder proved a bit small for the fast growing 26 meat birds. But is has been perfect for our 6 turkeys. Perhaps we’ll add another brooder to the right of this one.
The Old Man whipped together this chicken tractor for the meat birds, and later the turkeys when they’re ready. Each morning I slide the wheels on and move the tractor 8 feet to new grass. Then I replenish their feed and water. The chicks quickly learn the deal and move with the tractor to new territory. They get about 12 hours free-feeding with the feed and 12 hours grazing each day. It’s good for the chicks and good for the pasture and easy to maintain which means good for me too.
And because it amuses me, here are the birds gathered around the feeder I gave the Old Man to use in the tractor… in my past citykid life I used it as wall art and for holiday centerpieces. Now it’s back to serving its original purpose of feeding chickens. I’m going to miss seeing it filled with candles and pine cones on my dining room table at Christmas time. But the frugal farmgirl in me couldn’t bear to purchase a new one when I had a perfectly good feeder hanging on the living room wall.
Taking down that little feeder off the wall and hanging it in the chicken tractor is kinda symbolic of my transition from citykid to farmgirl. No?
I’m actually excited to see how the meat birds dress out and maybe add another tractor, and more birds, next year.