Rotating chickens preserves forage

Pecking orderI was forced to keep
our brooder-raised australorps separate from our laying flock
since the older hens started
chasing the chicks away from food when the latter were a  month
old.  At three months, though, the australorps had nearly caught
up to their flockmates in size and were able to nibble around the edges
of the kitchen scraps that I dumped in each morning.  Finally —
flock merger!

While I was at it, I
went ahead and turned the broody hen and her month old chicks into the
same pasture as everyone else.  There was no danger of
her chicks going
hungry…although everyone else started looking a little thinner as
they scurried away
Hen with chickfrom the broody hen’s ready
beak.  Scattering feed in several different locations down the
entire length of the pasture made sure everyone got fed.

These flock mergers
happened just in time because the old hens’ pasture was getting worn
and starting to smell.  I turned them all into the mother hen’s
first, and
our four hens, nine pullets, and nine chicks ate that down to nubbins
in just a week.  Halfway through their foray in the
(next in the
rotation), I’m glad to see that the most worn down pasture is already
rebounding and nearly ready to be grazed again.  Rotation
definitely does make sense for keeping succulent young growth available
for your flock.

A bucket chicken
in each
pasture kept the larger birds well hydrated with no work on my part.

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