Updated: Dec 12, 2018
The chickens have arrived!
We finished up a last few details on the coop before we loaded up the chickens. We installed a water system that collects rain from the roof into a rain barrel. The barrel feeds into little red cups from which the chickens drink. As they drink, they toggle the yellow tab and allow more water in. This system is designed to be self-sustaining, keeping the chickens watered with rainfall.
We also installed a little automatic door which closes at night and opens in the morning (using a light sensor). Chickens instinctively return to roost at nighttime. Closing the door behind them keeps them safe from nocturnal predators.
On the land, we put a 100-foot perimeter fence around their yard. It's a portable fence, so we can move the chickens around to new spots. But it's also electric, which will deter predators.
Rounding up the chickens took some acrobatics, but as soon as they were in their new house, they settled right in. They claimed perches and checked out their nesting boxes. One chicken, in the middle of the tiring molting process, just fell asleep in the cedar chips.
With the flock safely inside, we hitched up the coop and set out slowly for the land.
Before we let them out into their new yard, we clipped the wings of the four Secilian Buttercups. The little guys are always flying about, and we want to ensure they stay in their protected area. We carefully clipped the primary feathers on one wing per chicken, so that they're too lopsided to make it far.
Once they were out, the chickens absolutely loved their new yard. They set about foraging at once. One even lay an egg in the boxes!
It felt incredibly satisfying to bring the ladies to the new land. Lillian and I sat with them for a while, watching them expertly eating bugs and sprouts and the grass itself. They amiably scratched around us, accepting our offerings. The two flocks got along better than they ever have, even occasionally mingling.
Along with the chickens arriving, this week saw a massive clearing of the land! We hired someone to clear, so now huge swaths of pears and kudzu are gone. The fields roll beautifully from the hilltop now that we can actually see across them.
Concetta continues to build beds, and we still have a few improvements to make for the chicken's home. But our first animals have arrived, and the pears have suffered defeat!