For the first year here it felt like trying to drink from a firehose. Now in year number two, things have seemed much MUCH more manageable. I credit two pivotal points for me that turned it around. One, barn organization. The barn, while small, is centrally located on the front property and so, all projects flow from there. The barn is feed, hay, tool, and building supply storage as well as housing stalls for brooding, farrowing, or animals recovering from an illness.
I won’t go into details with how disgusting and chaotic it was when we moved in, but suffice it to say there was rat poop everywhere! Now, everything has its place and the places are smart. Things used more often are within reach while things used less often are out of the way, but still visible and therefore easy to find. Projects take way less time now and don’t leave you wanting to pull your hair out!
The second major improvement/development was housing the layer hens in the poultry RV. This lovely inheritance took only minor repairs to get up and running, comfortably sleeps 13 birds, and can be pulled by myself with admittedly considerable effort, but hey, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger!” Now, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post about Free Range Chickens, they can do some serious damage if allowed to run wild. Especially, if you want to grow ANYTHING from seed directly in the ground and not have chicken poo all over the driveway. Which I do…and don’t.
So, having had a superb experience with corralling pigs behind electro-netting, we invested in a 5 foot tall portable fence that very much keeps the chickens localized, but still allows them to hunt, forage, flap, roost, peck, scratch, and do all the the chicken-y things they are made to do. And, we still get delicious eggs, chicken-y sites and sounds, and directed fertilizing and sod thatching. Actually, they deposit a lot overnight inside the RV which is pretty handy for harvesting. Then, I can place it strategically.
Yes, they have been banned from certain areas because they eat all the sunflower seeds. But now, because more sunflowers grow, voilà!, there are more sunflower seeds for them to eat. I’m sure I am just imagining it, too, but I swear they seem more relaxed now that they have 2,000 square feet to patrol at a time rather than a couple acres and plenty of barn shelving!