I’ve just realized that my chicken feed is too good. I do “cafeteria feeding,” where the hens have a high-protein pellet on one feeder and whole corn in another feeder. The idea is that the hens will mix and match in an appropriate way. This is a proven technique that has been used successfully for more than 100 years.
I have just released a new book. Well, an old book, really, first published in 1864 — Ten Acres Enough by Edmund Morris.
This is a classic back-to-the-land book. Morris sold his newspaper in Philadelphia and bought a small farm in New Jersey, where he grew berries and peaches, made a good living, and was grateful to leave the rat race behind. It’s a good read and has plenty of thought-provoking material in it, and should be fun for anyone interested in reading about self-sufficient farm living as it was practiced by refugees from city life 150 years ago.
I don’t feel fully dressed unless I have a pocket knife on me. I started carrying a Swiss Army Knife around with me when I was eleven. (Even to school. My teachers knew I had it and were always borrowing it. Those were the days!)
But Karen one-upped me, as she so often does. The other day, I noticed that one of the waterers wasn’t working and needed to have the crud flushed out, a task that requires a pair of pliers. So I resolved to come back and do this, and promptly forgot all about it.
Fall brooding is one of the best things you can do to improve your poultrykeeping experience. It works at least as well as spring brooding, maybe better. The weather is generally favorable for shipping chicks by mail, being not to hot, not too cold, and no more changeable than in the springtime. The weather is drier, so dampness-related problems like coccidiosis aren’t so bad. And most of us are far too busy in the spring — planting a garden, doing livestock projects, and generally ramping up for the season. Fall is less busy for most of us.
Feed is way too expensive to waste these days, but try telling that to the chickens! How can we keep our chickens from wasting feed?
The biggest culprit is feeders that are too shallow. One of the old rules of thumb was to never fill a trough or feed pan more than one-third full. This is harder than it looks, because most of the readily available poultry equipment consists of glorified chick feeders — way too small for grown (or even half-grown) chickens.