Sunday, August 5, 2012

Chicken Run

Last time at McLaughlin Farm I assisted John in moving some fences so the cows could graze in different area than they had been. John has a system in place with easily moveable, electric fences that section off pieces of pasture. Once the cows eat up one section of pasture, he will move them to the next. By the time the grass is eaten in the last section hopefully the first one is grown again. 

The fences are very easy to move due to his design. They are simply pieces of wire held up by plastic rods. We just wound up the wire we wanted to move and unwound it in another location. This system is much easier than having to move large wooden fence posts.

That was the simple part of the day. Our next task was to tend to the chickens that have recently joined the farm. The first time I saw them, about 2 weeks ago, they were fluffy and small enough to fit in your palm. This time they took two hands to hold and their fluff had turned to feather. The task at hand was to move the entire lot of them (24) from the top level of the three level cage to the middle and bottom levels. The top level is where the heating unit is and they no longer needed as much heat as they were getting.  John grabbed each tiny bird and I opened the cage door letting him place it in. Quickly into the task one chicken decided to get away.  Firstly I was a little scared to grab it for fear of hurting it, so I let John retrieve it. However, pretty soon we realized that the chickens on the bottom level of the cage were executing a mass break out. The slats were just wide enough for them to squeeze out. At that point there were at least 10-15 chickens running amok around the barn. I guess in the heat of the moment I realized I had no time for fear and I grabbed each chicken as fast as I could. They seemed to spaz out a bit but once I got them in my hands they calmed down.  A couple of the stubborn buggers put up a pretty good fight but eventually we were able to get them all safely back in their cage. Just in time for a snack for them and drink.