I have an old Hussmann refrigerator with two sliding glass doors, that was originally used as a refrigerated produce case in a grocery store (I use it to store eggs from my free-range egg farm). This was a nice unit in its day—it’s built like a battleship—but its refrigeration unit is shot, and was an inefficient dinosaur even when it ran properly.
Keeping the chickens’ water ice-free during the winter can be a struggle! Here are some easy ways to make it happen.
Galvanized Buckets for Winter Waterers
The classic technique for full-grown chickens is the old bucket switcheroo: when you go out to tend the chickens, you bring out a galvanized bucket of warm water, and leave it for them to drink from. When you leave, you take away the partly empty bucket you left for them last time, because if it’s not empty, it’s frozen. You bring the frozen bucket inside with you and leave it in a place where it will thaw a little, so the ice will slide out easily.
Ruth Stout, the lovably eccentric advocate of simple living and especially no-work gardening, sprinkles all her work with wise and funny observations. Here are my 15 favorite Ruth Stout quotes from her book, Gardening Without Work: For the Aging, the Busy & the Indolent:
“You can, of course, just promise yourself that you will reform and will do better next time, but broken vows, even those made exclusively to oneself, can be rather uncomfortable to live with.”
Your Chickens in October
Robert Plamondon’s Poultry Newsletter, October 2016
News from the Farm
The farm year is winding down. Our last batch of broiler chicks in in the brooder house. Our pigs will be sent to be reincarnated as pork, bacon, and ham before the end of the month.
About those Pigs…
We have some pasture-raised pigs available. This year’s batch is going to be good-sized, with a half-pig yielding 100 pounds of wrapped freezer meat, give or take. Call it five paper shopping bags full. These pigs have been fed not only on custom-milled feed, but whole wheat, all our cracked and otherwise unsaleable free-range eggs, and bushels and bushels of carrot tops and other scraps from Gathering Together Farm’s market booth.
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.
Free-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.