For those of you who bought eggs at last week’s market (October 14, 2014), here’s where the hens were. As the weather starts to cool and the daylight becomes less, the seasonal field grasses and plants begin to wind-down for the year and start to turn brown. Because of this I’ve been pushing their pasture further into the woods.
This works well because even in winter the forest floor is full of bugs, grubs, and other natural foods chickens prefer. But the tradeoff is that I’m exposing them to more predators. There’s lots of trees outside their pasture that overhang the portable electrified poultry netting and into their enclosure. I keep envisioning a hungry raccoon dropping in for a quick meal but so far, so good. About 10 days ago early in the morning they were cackling like crazy so I went over to investigate. The source of their excitement was a half-eaten coyote carcass on the ground that wasn’t there the evening before. Something must have dragged it up into a tree to dine and dropped it into their area so yes, some crazy stuff can indeed happen in the forest.
Either way the chickens definitely like being amongst the trees so I’m happy. I’ve noticed they’re eating less from the supplemental feeders and the yolks of their eggs are more orange, which is a great indicator of a nutrient-rich and tastier egg.