CHICKENS


            For some odd reason I've been afraid to add chickens to the mix.  I guess I felt that they, among all the animals, were most vulnerable to predators and I hate losing animals.  But once we created the "pig yard" which encompassed the chicken coop as well as the new pig house, I felt more comfortable with the idea of a few chickens.  In addition to adding chicken wire along the fence adjoining the sheep pasture, we strung electric wire around the top and bottom of the entire enclosure.  
 
          I ordered 16 Faverolle hens (they are a French breed known for good egg production and calmness).  Day old chicks arrived at the end of June.  One chick died almost immediately and I sold 3 to a friend - that left me with 12.  Once the chicks were fully feathered I let them into the yard.  Within a week I lost 3 and suspected the barn cats.  We added additional hot wire across the gate and in a couple of other open spots and wrapped tin around any tree close enough to the yard that the cats could jump in.  Our 9 chickens have been happily living with the pigs ever since.
 
          The pigs love chicken feed and the chickens love pig food - it is a match made in heaven!  Also both love scraps of all kinds and the chickens have a fondness for scratching through pig manure.  What could be better?  I have begun to suspect that one of my hens is, in fact, a rooster.  I'll need to keep my eye on that one!  No eggs yet - may not see any until Spring.  But they are a hoot to watch.
 
The girlsThe girls 
 
the girls