Our Chickens

-by Dorothee



We have 3 heritage breed chickens, dorkings, chanteclers and ameraucanas. Our existing flock have all been hatched out here, save for our new ameraucana rooster.

I hatch out 2 batches of chicks in the spring, before the garden gets going, and keep some, sell the rest.

I house them in 3 different coops, and keep a small coop for the young ones. 

All our chickens are  pastured year round, although in winter, some choose to stay inside.  I feed them a combination of feeds. Organic scratch, containing oats, either spelt or wheat, and corn.

We grow spelt and oats, enough to feed for most of the year, and this year maybe corn as well, although our friend Oscar Smith sells us wonderful organic corn, which I grind with a modified oat mill.  Mat is working on a corn grinder for this summer. I also purchase some organic layer, although the spoiled chickens don't eat much of that. They prefer the cooked grains that they are fed each morning, which have  lots of added fines left over from the pressing, in the filter press and the centrifuge

The fines are really high in protein (about 30 to 35%) as well as lots of omega 3 and 9. When egg production exceeds sales, I also feed then some eggs cooked in their breakfast, which are high in methionine, which is an amino acid hard to find, but essential to chickens' health. They also get dried, ground up egg shells, which my egg customers save for us, mixed with oyster shell calcium, as a supplement. And of course, scraps left over from meals- meat, grains, fruit, vegetables, and I feel like a pied piper when I bring out their mid day treat. The compost pile seems to be a favourite  place to eat, but the garden is off limits during growing season. Those young plants, and luscious tomatoes seem to be irresistible. And anything with straw around it is fair game for scratching. It would be nice if they only stuck to the bugs I don't want in the garden, and leave the rest.

The coops get cleaned every few weeks, and I lay down fresh straw, after spreading some diatomaceous earth, to reduce mites.

Their water has a little organic apple cider vinegar, which I make for them, and this is good for their digestive tract.

But they often seem to prefer drinking water out of puddles, or the cow's bucket.