Saturday, March 3, 2012

Chickens in the Oat Field

Large Hen-a-bago on the oat field
We have moved our large Hen-a-bago up to the oat field we sowed last fall. The chickens seem to enjoy rooting through the greens and picking at the seeds. In the few days they have been up there they have already mowed down part of the field from scratching and picking at the oats. This is a good example of rotating our pastured chickens in order to given them fresh feed, work the soil, and keep our bug population down!
Look just to the right of the grass edge where the chickens have scratched down the oats and picked away at the soil!  

The red roof at the front of the picture covers a dust box Charlie made.  It allows the chickens to have dust baths even on rainy days when the ground is wet & muddy.  Daily dust baths are important for chickens as a means to prevent infestations of mites and other parasites that like to find a host on which to live.  We fill the dust boxes with a mixture of peat moss, wood ash from the wood stove and diatomaceous earth.  We have to refill it regularly as so much "dust" leaves the box in the chickens' feathers as they leap out, fluff themselves and then settle down somewhere comfortable to preen.  It reminds me of children carrying sand from the sandbox home in their shoes.  

Partridge Rock pullets in the oats

And another wandering in search of bugs or a tidbit none of the others has found.

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