Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Chickens in The Compost

Since the chickens have gotten bigger, we have started letting them out of their pen for several hours in the late afternoon so they can forage in the woods. They really enjoy this and if it were possible to keep the cat away from them, I'd love to be able to let them out more. We will probably build a movable pen for them at some point so they can spend more time out in the yard.
Their day looks something like this: at around 6:00 am when I let them out of their coop, into their run and feed them their "grow" and "scratch". Around noon, we bring them all of the fruit and veggie scraps from the kitchen as well as more grow and scratch if the kitchen scraps are sparse. We let them out into the yard around 4 pm each day. When we let them out one of the places they enjoy visiting is the compost bins.
They really love kitchen scraps and I usually put some in the compost, so they head over for that and to see if there are any bugs or worms as well. It is amazing to watch them clear an area of bugs.

Here is a close up of "Susan" enjoying herself in the compost.

They are about 2/3 grown now. Its hard to tell from this picture because I was standing above when I took it (can't squat down near the chickens because they will either try to eat the camera or hop up on my lap - funny girls).

Here are two of the roosters hanging out near the dog. They have already figured out that he cannot get to them as long as they stay outside of a certain range. They are much more adventurous than the girls, who tend to stay in the woods, near the coop/ run. In fact, the four roos can usually be found together roaming the property, like a little gang of boys. The roosters, by the way, have already begun their first attempts at crowing, which are pretty funny - half crow, half choke.


MichelleZ said...

Susan looks a lot like one of mine. It is funny, though, you have the same kind of chickens and yet their personalities are so much different. My girls much rather eat what is growing out of the ground than kitchen scraps, and although they are curious, they are a lot more cautious and don't come very close to us. They have already cleaned out the vegetation in their run, so I am really wanting to build a portable run too. Maybe in the fall when I can see my feet again. :)

The Book Lady Online said...

Hi Michelle,

Susan is one of our Americaunas. You have those, too, right? Our chickens enjoy eating grass and plants, too, but they LOVE scraps. In fact, they love all of it, even leftovers like broccoli cheese soup. Its so funny to watch them fighting over the pieces of broccoli - snatch and run, lol. They fight over bugs, too. Well, really they fight over everything, lol. So entertaining.

Ours are not really shy, at least most aren't. I think that is mostly due to the fact that Nick handled them so much when they were still in the brooder. He loves them so much and can get them to do things for him that I cannot, like get them back into the run before dark, lol.

Most of ours are full-sized, but one is about half the size of the others. At first, we thought something was wrong with her, then we realized she's a banty, lol. She's such a cutie. I sort of wish the others were banties - it would mean ALOT less poop, lol.

How are you feeling? Its getting close now. Are ya'll ready? Do you need anything? Let me know, ok :)

Miss you!!

Anonymous said...

I was going to ask if they go back into the coop on their own at night or if you have to herd them. My plan is to let the hens be in the run during the day (out of the coop), but after I get the kids from school, let them out till dusk. Redd thinks they'll just camp out in the woods and we won't see them again.

The Book Lady Online said...


From the time chickens were out in their run, I've been working on getting them to go into the coop at night. At first, I had to call to them and put food into the coop. In fact, the first 2 times, I also had to catch them all and put them inside, one at a time. After a few days, they understood the routine and started going in at night when I brought the food. After a week or so, I noticed that they were going in as soon as it was dark, which in the woods, near their coop, is about 7:30 pm. Now, we let them roam the yard from about 4 pm until dark. At that time, they go inside and all I have to do is go out there around 8:00 and lock them up for the night ( the roosters stay out later than the hens, lol). So, I think your plan would work, especially if they are already used to going in at night. :)

PaulaB52 said...

Thanks Lori!