Jan 212013

Hens prefer dark nest boxes for egg laying. In the past we have used scraps of shade cloth to darken our hen’s nest boxes but we decided to try something new this time. Legs of old denim jeans! The shade cloth begins raveling and wears out quickly – it will be interesting to see if the denim wears any longer. We have heard of using strips of rubber from old inner tubes – but we didn’t have any available and, we’re wondering if the black rubber would hold too much heat in the nest boxes in the summer time.  If you have experience using reclaimed materials for farm uses, we’d love to hear your ideas! 🙂

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Jan 072012

Last year was NOT a good year for laying hens on our farm… and that is an understatement. Our sheep and goats were sold the previous year and with them, the livestock guardian dogs. We had not realized the extent of their influence in keeping predators at bay even around the chickens, who they were not trained to protect, till they were gone.

Starting out the year we had 225 chickens, mostly hens but also a few roosters. I had raised more than I needed because I believed there was a market for young hens. About the time they began laying in the early spring I sold 60 hens, leaving me with 165. I thought that would be more than enough hens to supply the market for pastured farm-fresh brown eggs but decided to wait to sell any more till I could see how sales were going to level out.  Maybe I should have sold them all knowing what I know now, but hindsight is 20/20. Continue reading »