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...

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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

FAQ: Deep Litter in Chicken Coops

Deep Litter for Chickens: Another Lost Technique From the Golden Age

deep_litter_poultry_lime
Stirring hydrated lime into deep litter.

Many poultry techniques that were once well-understood became shrouded in mystery after the poultry business shifted to factory farming. The old-time diversified farmers passed away, and there are generations of industrialized farmers between us and them, breaking our cultural continuity.

The Deep Litter Method. One of the lost ideas is the deep litter method (deep litter is also called “built-up litter” or “compost litter.” People think they know what the deep-litter system is, but often they don’t. The descriptions floating around these days are more folklore than fact. The article below is the real deal. read more...

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Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

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.

With an increase in our understanding of sanitation and nutrition, opportunities for self-feeding flocks are few and far between.

And because we know about nutrition now, my theme today is: read more...

Robert Plamondon on EmailRobert Plamondon on FacebookRobert Plamondon on GoogleRobert Plamondon on LinkedinRobert Plamondon on StumbleuponRobert Plamondon on TwitterRobert Plamondon on Youtube
Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

FAQ: Simple Electric Fences for Chickens

To a lot of critters—raccoons, coyotes, bobcats, dogs—your free-range flock is a 24-hour all-you-can-eat chicken buffet. Maybe, must maybe,  the local predators are afraid to run off with your chickens today. But it won’t last.

Trust me on this. I have been almost put out of business by predation several times. If it weren’t for the techniques described here, I wouldn’t have any chickens today.

What worked for me? Simple electric fences. Really simple electric fences.

One-Wire and Two-Wire Electric Fences

Two-wire electric fence for chickensThis kind of electric fence, with just one or two wires, we developed over 60 years ago. It is commonly used to keep raccoons out of gardens and all kinds of predators out of chicken yards. read more...

Robert Plamondon on EmailRobert Plamondon on FacebookRobert Plamondon on GoogleRobert Plamondon on LinkedinRobert Plamondon on StumbleuponRobert Plamondon on TwitterRobert Plamondon on Youtube
Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.

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.)

It’s also a good time to brood baby chicks. I’m a big fan of fall brooding. Most hatcheries still have a pretty good selection in September. Later on, they’ll only have commercial breeds (partly because off-season orders mostly come from people with commercial flocks, partly because the other breeds aren’t laying enough eggs to fill an incubator). Chicks hatched in October will be feathered enough to handle winter weather when it hits hard in December. read more...

Robert Plamondon on EmailRobert Plamondon on FacebookRobert Plamondon on GoogleRobert Plamondon on LinkedinRobert Plamondon on StumbleuponRobert Plamondon on TwitterRobert Plamondon on Youtube
Robert Plamondon
Robert Plamondon has written three books, received over 30 U.S. patents, founded several businesses, and is an expert on free-range chickens. His publishing company, Norton Creek Press, is a treasure trove of the best poultry books of the last 100 years.