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The benefits of chicken tractors: this picture shows where the…

The benefits of chicken tractors: this picture shows where the tractor has been. The foreground was Sunday’s location and the grass is already greening up again and the rain has washed the nitrogen into the soil already. The dry spot to the rear left is where they spent Monday, with the tarp over the tractor as protection from the rain. As soon as they are moved to a new location, they start pecking happily at the fresh greens until it’s time to roost for the night. The chickens benefit from foraging, the ground benefits from having nitrogen added and isn’t harmed by the short-term stay on it, and we benefit from the happy hens with their eggs. Win win!

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We here at Sweet Gum Farm have talked about getting…

We here at Sweet Gum Farm have talked about getting chickens for a while and an opportunity presented itself this week. Thankfully we were on vacation and were able to go from no-clue-this-was-on-the-horizon on Sunday to making a mobile chicken tractor this week and picking them up today!

So far only one–the white rooster–has been named. He is the leader of the flock so he is the Colonel. Yes, that is Larry, assistant chief of security, checking things out in the 3rd photo’s background. He and the rest of the security staff later verified for themselves that the electric fence around the chicken tractor was indeed working, instead of taking us at our word. Electric fence 4, security staff 0. Well, actually, it’s electric fence 6, security staff 0 because 2 security personnel weren’t quite sure after the first shock and had to test it again to be sure it wasn’t a fluke. Yeow. They now give the electric fence a singed thumbs up.

At their previous home the chickens have been eating a diet of high quality, non-GMO feed ground by Coosa Valley Milling, and we will continue to feed them that as well as allow them to scratch and feed in our pastures. With the mobility of the chicken tractor, we can continually rotate them to fresh ground so that they can always have fresh ground.

The flock took today’s transfer in relative stride and settled in to their new digs (yes, pun intended) quickly: they have already given us 2 brown eggs. They enthusiastically were enjoying the grass in their new mobile home and had no complaints when I sat with them for a while. Thus begins our poultry adventure!