Kindness is essential in our daily lives.
I will share weekly a new post with a message of how powerful kindness really can be.

Chickens x 6

Late summer 2010 we gladly fostered six chickens for an elderly woman who due to health reasons and lack of family assistance wasn't able to properly care for them. My son and daughter-in-law were instrumental in finding them a good home. It was agreed that we would foster these needy chicks for a week until another family was found to house them
First dozen eggs.
permanently. The toughest part was getting them from one house  to  another. Thanks to my daughter-in-law the job got done. The transition went smooth and the chicks provided us with six beautiful brown eggs the following morning.

chicken tractor view
My son and his family raise chickens of their own and they happily provided us with a chicken tractor built by my son (basically a portable chicken house with an attached run) to house them in while they stayed at our home. The purpose of it being portable is that it can be moved very easily over different areas of fresh lawn for scratching  and eating. When it appears the grass is in need of relief just pick it up (chickens and all) and roll it to a new location being careful of the confined chicks. A door is provided in the back of the house for reaching in and collecting the eggs and cleaning out the bedding. The top area of the screened run has a door in it also that lifts for changing the water and providing them with feed.

chicken tractor view
Naturally there are chicken droppings left where they were housed. These get raked up into the wheel barrow and spread over the area that will be our vegetable garden this summer and used as mulch. Soon after the cleanup the grass becomes fresh again. It's important to move them as frequently as you can so they don't completely destroy the lawn. Their little house protects them from the elements and they're able to free range as much as possible at their leisure. Because they love to be outdoors we covered the top of the run to help keep them dry when it rained. In my reading about chicken tractors it's actually possible for the chickens to live in their chicken tractor year round following some precautions for winterizing the unit.

The poor six chicks came with bare minimum necessities so, as responsible foster, parents it was necessary for us to get the proper provisions for them. We made a quick trip to the local feed store and came home with a pickup full of straw, shaved pine bedding, laying feed, watering bowl, feed bowl, grit, oyster shell and cracked corn (as advised by the sales person..and a very good one I might add). Ka ching! We had just made a major investment in these chicks which made us start thinking about adopting them ourselves. A week went by, then two, then three, and no takers for permanent ownership. The next thing you know they are permanently ours.

Grape vines and flower bed
loaded with leaves

After they got acclimated to their surroundings, the chicks were allowed to free range where they found refuge under the trellis of the grape vine which provided shade for them while they ate grape droppings. From there they wandered to the log pile for scratching  in the sawdust and/or shavings left from the earlier wood cutting. Here is where they found lots of healthy worms for snacking. It appeared they had a few things around the homestead that caught their attention to entice them to hang around the yard area. Then, when I wasn't paying attention they escaped to the woods behind the house. It wasn't a lot of fun chasing them back home with a broom. After the second escape to the woods I kept a better eye on them.
woods in back of house
 At dusk (or even earlier if necessary) I would pick them up one at a time and take them back to their home where they got locked in for the night away from the elements and predators. (These funny little creatures would squat when I approached them {probably out of fear} and actually let me pick them up with no problem.) Only once did I get soiled. Yuck!

Coming the cat willing to share it's yard space with the chicks and everything else I need to share with you about raising chickens.

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