I want to talk about our first real failure as farmers. We started out with 24 chickens in April, and guess how many we have now, at the end of November?? As you might guess from the title, yes, it’s only 12. I expected to lose some due to the free-ranging nature of our chickens, and the larger quantity, but not half of our flock in 6 months! We had 12 chickens that lived in our fenced, neighborhood, backyard in Colorado and we only lost 2. So, to lose so many chickens was definitely a shock. We lost them due to predators, most likely coyotes, our dog, and disease.

We obviously need to come up with a solution to better protect our chickens. Right now, our chickens have a coop with a run and a 1,200 sqft area to roam. The 1,200 sqft area is surrounded by plastic poultry netting that is 4 ft tall and secured to posts by zip ties every 4 ft. We’ve had numerous times that a predator has busted through the fencing and we’ve had to repair with more zip ties. The chickens also like to jump over the netting, which sometimes tempts our dog.  Poor Elway was just trying to help get them back into their run, right?!


The new game plan

Early next year we plan to move the chickens down into our “farming” field. We just had a water line put in to make farming and raising animals much more convenient. The very large field is down in a valley, there is a creek and woods to the south of the field, woods to the west and north, and a pond to the east. We will situate the new chicken run by a large tree which will leave part of the area shaded, and part with sunlight. There should be less wind down there due to the tree coverage. We plan to have a “shed coop” which will make it easier to clean and also give us more storage. The free-ranging area will be surrounded by 6 ft high electric fencing – hopefully keeping out those coyotes! A cool addition is our watering system. We will have large tractor tires that are filled with water and then we will have ducks that will hang out in the water to keep it from freezing in the winter. We will report back on how this works!

So, there are new and exciting chicken plans to come!  As we get things set up, we will post updates on the blog. Wish us luck and hopefully we have a much lower casualty rate next year!