In May of 2011 FoxDog Farm finally acquired chickens. We had hesitated over this, not sure we knew how to take care of them. But after reading a few books, perusing a few websites, looking at the little chicks at the local store, we jumped in.
We started with 5 Buff Orpingtons, 5 Ameracaunas and 5 French Marans (about two weeks younger than the others). Of the original 15, two years later, we have 9. Some have died natural deaths, others were taken by the local Wil. E. Coyote. And then, there's Marti...
The icon above is Marti. She's a very friendly chicken, and like many chickens, incredibly curious. She has healed completely from the wounds of her coyote attack, and walks so well we can't distinguish her from her chicken friends any more! She still comes around and helps us garden, and produces about an egg a day when the weather is nice.
Since the original group of chickens we have acquired more, refreshing the flock every year with new chicks. Last year we got two roosters. One died defending his flock from the coyote (and did a fabulous job), the other, Beauford, is still around, strutting his stuff and keeping his girls in line. He is pretty gentle, unlike Biff, the deceased Roo'.
Our chickens are entirely free range during the day, unless for some reason the farmers, and the foxdog Jaska, will be gone most of the day. This is because Jaska protects the chickens from the coyotes, racoons and various air born predators. If she isn't around, the chickens stay in their run. At night the chickens return to their coop except for the one that always manages to forget how to get there and ends up in a goat hay feeder, or something. There's always that one! Anyway, once that one is rounded up and returned to the coop, they are locked in for the night. This is to protect them from the predators. Jaska does periodic patrols through the night, but she does have to sleep some time...
Because our chickens are entirely free range, please do use caution when driving into the parking area by the house. The chickens may be out and about. Heck, the goats and the dog could be out and about too!
We are happy to report that we'll be getting a few more chickens in 2013. Yay! More eggs! More chickens!