Thursday, June 10

Chicken Wrangler: Raising Happy Free Range Chickens


So I thought chickens would be super simple & for the most part they are. However everyone has different advice about what to feed them. Some say - "Oh no problem chickens will eat any food scraps you give them."
Then others are more particular - "Rinse the lettuce first and you must soak the stale bread, make a soup for them & they will like it better." (Note: These are the same people that literally boil pasta for their dog with extra virgin olive oil & toasty bread)
And of course there is the hardware-store that says their organic feed is just enough & balanced perfectly.
So it seems even feeding them is confusing especially when we want nice bright yolks for making pasta. But they have started eating everything - even dry crunchy stale bread and they are loving the cherries!
Our coop is fantastic (read all about building it) but the 12 fowl (chickens & roosters) are bigger now & ready to explore which is something we have been nervous about as there are many predators out here just licking their chops for a bite of our tasty chickens - well get in line, so are we! Their house is located in semi-dense brush & woods so a fox can easily wait to make its move. Determined to have happy free-range chickens I started wrangling them! (I have taken on the chickens as Jason has soooo many other projects around the farm). I have no clue what I'm doing as I've never had chickens before. I started letting them out of the coop & herding them about the yard with a long stick training them to stay out of the deep brush. The hysterical part is they follow me for the most part - there's always one that goes rogue! It doesn't hurt that I try to do a little chicken-chat with them - brrrrkaaaa!
You may laugh, but its working!
They now know where their "area" is & come flapping & running to the door of their coop in the early morning as I coo "Buon giorno, ciao my chickies, come va?!" they eager to explore & start pecking about. Then in the early afternoon they head back in themselves! They have since doubled in size PLUS we found our first 3 eggs! Granted 2 of the 3 were too soft but still - they are starting! Chicken 'experts' say they are still abit young to produce everyday & the soft shell is normal. Since the first laying we have yet to see another but those yolks - dark bright yellow/red are pasta perfect!!Thankfully they showed a little love and have received a stay of execution as Jason proclaimed (sounding a bit like my Grandpa) "If they don't start laying soon they'll be soup!"

Looking good my little chick-a-dees, looking good! Keep it up!
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