FAQ: Free Range and Yarding for Chickens

1. What is Free Range?

There are three basic definitions of free range (as it applies to chickens). One is correct; two are bogus.

The correct definition of free range is:

Free-range poultry are, for practical purposes, unfenced, and are encouraged to spend most of their time outdoors, weather permitting.

watering-chickens-on-pastureFree-range poultry are often not fenced at all. When they are, the fences need to be distant from the birds. True free-range flocks are generally fed and watered outside. This encourages (in fact, forces) the birds to spend time outdoors and keeps the houses cleaner and drier. Read more...

Save Money on Chicken Feed

How can you save money on chicken feed? Here are a few time-tested methods.

Can My Chickens Find All Their Feed Themselves?

Not really. In the old days, farms and kitchens were so wasteful, with so much grain spilled by the horses and milk cows, and so much garbage thrown out the back door (or, in town, the front door), that flocks of skinny chickens could survive without further attention. Read more...

Your Chickens in September [Newsletter]

Your Chickens in September

Robert Plamondon’s Poultry Newsletter

News from the Farm

Right on cue, our hot, dry August weather transitioned into cooler, cloudier weather with a little rain—just as you’d expect in Oregon.

Autumn and Chickens

This is ideal weather for chickens, who don’t much like hot sunny weather. The pasture plants are greening up a bit as well, which will help keep the egg yolks dark and yummy. (The nutritional and flavor benefits of free range are mostly from fresh green plants, not worms, as some suppose.) Read more...

9 Best Tips For Keeping Your Old Tractor Going Strong

What upgrades and old-time tricks should you consider for your old tractor? Is a 12V conversion a good idea? A roll bar? A comfy seat? Read on!

I bought my tractor a year after moving to my 37-acre farm in Western Oregon. I needed a tractor just to keep the pastures from turning into forest. In addition, I raise free-range hens in portable houses, and the houses need to be pulled to a new location from time to time. Read more...

Your Chickens in July [Newsletter]

News from the Farm

We couldn’t ask for better weather: warm but not too warm, encouraging us to spend time outdoors. The only fly in the ointment is that our tractor is still in the shop.

Publishing News

Poultry Breeding and Management: 100th Anniversary Edition

A big milestone in the Golden Age of American poultrykeeping (roughly 1910-1960) was the publication of Professor James Dryden’s Poultry Breeding and Management in 1916. Working just down the road at the Oregon Experiment Station in Corvallis, Dryden accomplished a lot, It’s not clear whether he was more respected for being the first to prove that you could breed hens for higher production, or because his simple, effective management methods made two generations of farmers far more successful. Read more...