Raising chickens free-range

The process of raising naturally fed chickens in a free range manner is not as simple as it seems. We did all the research, read an excellent book on the subject and it sounded like a piece of cake. What we lack is a mother hen to really show the little darlings HOW. The chickens have been shy, scared, sometimes even horrified to wander about, but, it was starting to happen for some of them. However, they are approaching (some have in fact arrived) at maturity which has created yet another conundrum. Now the hens are being held captive by the randy roosters… in order to avoid getting nailed by they roosters; they won’t come down off the roost. Not only that is a problem, the roosters are scrapping with each other too. The solution is obvious… it is a matter of culling the roosters of which there are about 10. We kind of thought we had a few more weeks before this would be necessary so we are ill-prepared. I’m not even sure that there is enough meat on their bodies to make it sensible. For now I spend time during the day separating the worst offenders from the hens so they can come down to eat and drink… unmolested. But for the time being the hens are not embracing the concept of free range lifestyle.DSCN0824DSCN0838DSCN0844

2 thoughts

  1. My daughter-in-law does free-range and, no, it isn’t as easy as it seems. As of late one was born lame and all the other chickens kept attacking it. So she moved it into a separate pen, and now it follows her all over and into the house. And now the fox are stealing away with some.

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