(the gals who run the show)
In pasture production systems we have a unique challenge of allowing hens access to ample space and an ideal environment that encourages their natural behaviours, while also maintaining the flock's safety and health.
By utilizing mobile hen houses on ski's, we are able to give the "laydies" access to pasture for foraging, scratching and dust bathing but also a safe and comfortable place to roost and lay.
The houses provide the hens with ample housing space. They are also equipped with ample nesting and roosting space for laying and sleeping. We move the houses twice a week, as they sure eat that grass up quick!
But when they are outside, what’s keeping predators from attacking them? We use a moveable electric fence mesh known as electronet. This electric fence keeps the local foxes, raccoons, and skunks at bay. The electricity doesn’t harm the hens or these predators but definitely teaches them to steer clear.
Checking the fence voltage
Where the hens were (left) and where they are going (right)
Not only do we fence them in, they have their own specially trained guardian dog with them at all times. Meet Obi wan Kenobi, guardian (in training) of the chicken galaxy!
The hens have constant access to clean well water that is kept enclosed and free of contamination in our homemade automatic waterers. They also have continued access to a complete layer ration, so that they never go hungry.
Hens near the enclosed waterers
Whenever we come across a hen with a health problem, we immediately separate the 'sicken' from the flock and take her down to a smaller henhouse near our house, where she has her own space to recover. In consultation with our veterinarian who is specialized in poultry, we determine the best route to maintain the hens health and minimize her suffering. When she is healthy enough, we return her back to the flock out on pasture.
Our Lay-Dies are the foundation of what we do, and we couldn't do this without them. We treat our gals with love and respect and are grateful for what they give us in return. Here's a few more pictures of these sweet little dinosaurs!