I'm all for free ranging the hens and am willing to try her suggestions. She's been doing a lot of research and is impressed with the old-time successes of Robert Plamondon's poultry farm. He manages his flock with two houses - one strictly for roosting and one strictly for nesting. His flock is encouraged to range because the food and water is never in the coops but placed about 50 yards from both houses. He's had great success with his two-house strategy including increased egg production and decreased broken eggs and cannibalism.
We're not quite ready to put the flock out in the pasture but the chicks needed to be moved from the barn stall soon so they can get used to their new home in time to start laying. I wasn't ready to move them from the stall yet, but evidently my girlfriend was.
|Not a chicken!|
The only thing missing? Nesting boxes! She says she has plans for some of the leftover cabinetry I have down in a shed. She's been toying with the idea of "colony" nests as described in item #2 by Robert Plamondon. One four-foot nesting box for 40-50 hens sounds unbelievable but we'll see if it works or not. There are a few cabinets down there that could be converted into conventional nesting boxes or nesting tunnels.
I'm waiting to see how she plans to free ranges the flock now that they're in the coop. There's no doubt she'll come up with something surprising that will make me ... well... smile.