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Monday, April 9, 2012

Moving out!!

Today was the day!  The day we evicted the hens from their cozy winter hoop-coop and out to the pasture.

Here they are coming to receive the eviction notice.

Hubby and Kiddo1 wore their balaclavas...it was cold out there in the wind!

Moving hens really is a three person job.  Thankfully we had a third pair of hands that were not only willing but ABLE to help this year!

Kiddo1 would catch the hens with the net.

It's a pretty proud moment to know you're really helping Mom and Dad!

 My job was to trim the feathers on one wing.  Why do we do that?  By trimming just one wing the hen can't balance herself to fly and that keeps her within the fence and from becoming coyote food.

I tucked each hen under my left arm (I'm right handed) and spread the hen's right wing feathers.  We want to trim the last 10 feathers.  You don't have to count the feathers on each hen.  There is a natural break in the plummage after the tenth feather.  See that feather right above my thumb?  That marks the break.

I just used a kitchen shear, sharp and tough.  This doesn't hurt the chicken one bit!  Their feathers are like our fingernails:  made of protein and have no nerves.  But unlike our fingernails, these feathers won't regrow.  They'll fall out when the hens molt this fall/winter.

Kiddo3 watched the goings on from the doorway as Hubby took the trimmed hens and put them in the cages in the back of the pickup.

The hens are in electrified poultry netting to keep varmints out and chicken in.  They have a range shelter to sleep in at night with nest boxes on each side to lay their eggs.

When we got to the pasture, the hens scratched and pecked.  Kiddo1 exclaimed, "Mama, the chickens are so happy!"  Yes, they are!  Doing what chickens love to do.

 It doesn't look like much now, but that hill will green up in a few weeks and those hens will produce delicious and nutritious eggs from that forage.  It takes about 10 days for the dark orange color to return to their yolks.  So our egg customers should have them before May!

1 comment:

  1. Good job, nice to see others have the best helpers in their children. Child labor laws, for farmers and ranchers, talk about taking the fun out of childhood,
    Marte

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