14 Responses to Videos

  1. Hi again! We’ve made an offer on a 5-acre parcel in Port Angeles and are doing more serious homework on farm management…particularly what to do with the poop. Do you have a method for disposing of excess manure from your setup, or is your land large enough to accommodate the number of chickens you pasture? Do you know of any resources we could check into about this?

    • Composting it is the way to go. I only have between 50 to 100 chickens depending on the time of year. It works out to 10 to 20 chickens per acre. From my experience, an acre will handle up to 50 chickens. Most farm books will consider that number ridiculously low, but that’s what I see as the carrying capacity of the land, and the amount of space chickens like.

      With my chickens, I start a new compost pile every few months. What I am composting is the manure that builds up under their roost. The manure they leave in the woods and pasture as they roam about quickly absorbs into the ground and is used by the vegetation quickly.

      How many animals are you planning on having? If you’re going to be growing vegetables and crops, the compost will be like gold. Five acres will easily accommodate the manure made by a small flock of chickens. If you’re planning on having many hundreds or thousands of chickens, then you have another issue. Organic farmers who don’t have animals are always looking for manure to compost.

      • Our goal is several hundred, but will start out small to get a feel for the land and what number works best. The neighborhood is dotted with 5-acre parcels, and most of them are non-farm houses, so we want to make sure we’re not causing problems with smell and run-off. We want to pasture the chickens as much as possible, but with several hundred, we’ll need a supplemental plan for waste removal. Like you say, other farmers should be a good resource for that. Thanks again!

      • Several hundred chickens on five acres won’t be a problem. You won’t have much to worry about as far as runoff and smell. With the chickens out on pasture, their droppings are quickly used up by insects and vegetation. The droppings under their roosts when mixed with bedding and brush, will provide a steady stream of excellent compost.
        A bigger issue than their droppings, will be an effective rodent control. Anytime you have a flock of chickens you attract mice and rats. It doesn’t matter where you live in the country, you will have rats and mice. There are rats in the woods, in open land, in fields, and having chickens will attract them.
        Make sure any feed is put away for the night and in rodent proof containers. Many breeds of heritage chickens will keep the mice population under control. Field mice don’t stand a chance against these birds. For the rats, we’ve found that electric zap traps and using vitamin D3 bait is effective. You just have to be sure that if you have dogs, they can’t get to the vitamin D3 bait, as it will harm them. The good thing about vitamin D3 bait is that it poses little risk to birds, and if your dogs or cats or other animals such as foxes and coyotes find rats killed by vitamin D3, the rats pose little risk to them. By the time the rats die from the vitamin D3, they have metabolized the vitamin D3, and you don’t have the problem of secondary poisoning like you do with regular poisons. Vitamin D3 bait is permitted by the USDA for organic farms.

  2. Thank you for you reply! I’ve read different thoughts on how many chickens can be raised per acre. I really like your approach. Do your neighbors mind the sound of so many happy chickens? We’re in the process of finding land and even though it will be in the country rather than within city limits, we’re not sure how much acreage is necessary to buffer the animal noises.

    • Chickens aren’t very loud. Hens mostly cackle after laying an egg or when they are arguing about using the same nest. A rooster’s crow will carry a quarter to a half mile. You know you have too many roosters if they are crowing all day long. But if you keep their numbers down, they mostly just crow in the morning. The one time when roosters and hens can make a lot of noise is if they sense danger. Then the roosters will let out warning calls and the hens will chime in, warning all the others until the danger is gone. We’ve never had any complaints from the neighbors. Our closest neighbors are gone during the day, and the other neighbors are too far away, a half mile or more, to hear the chickens.

  3. Beautiful job documenting your dream and sharing with the rest of us. You have an eye for the details that most people miss. My husband and I are planning to raise chickens and rabbits as a retirement career. Did you have any trouble finding buyers for your eggs? Do you sell the meat as well and if so, did you need a license to do this?

    • Thank you. I don’t have any problem finding buyers for my eggs. The problem is more the reverse. There is greater demand for my eggs than I can meet. I could raise many more chickens, but then I’d ruin what I am trying to do. To be happy, chickens need lots of space and on my five acres, the most I could have and be content that they all have enough room, is a hundred or so. I also sell the meat, and for that you do need a license. That is more involved as you can’t use your home kitchen to butcher. You must have a separate facility.

  4. Emily Guadamuz says:

    I love your site. If only everyone had as much heart and passion for what they did in this world as you do with your chicks!. It’s awesome! We will have to make it up there sometime to buy a chicken or get some eggs with our kids. We enjoy your videos!

  5. Ever since I went to a Bed n Breakfast in New Hampshire and saw first-hand their happy, roaming fluffy chickens, I have yearned to raise chickens in the kind manner that you do. Thank you for appreciating life, and the natural way of living which adds to the contentment of your lovely chickens. Washington State has always been one of my favorite places, ever since visiting Diablo Lake and the Port Angeles area. You seem to be located near that area. I’ve always wondered about the challenges associated with raising chickens during the winter. I imagine there are tough winters up in North Western Washington. Do they mostly stay inside a coop when it snows? I will definitely be following you on Facebook!

    • We don’t have many days with snow. It’s mostly rainy and cloudy during the winter. But when it does snow, the chickens do come out. More than the snow, it is very cold temperatures which can cause frostbite on their combs, but we don’t get such severe cold here. Even on some of our very rainy days, they won’t stay in their spacious coop which is dry and has plenty of food. They prefer to be outdoors even if they get soaking wet.
      Chickens in the snow

  6. Cynthia C. says:

    I love your site – it’s wonderful! Your chickens are your passion! I love the little videos showing your chickens living their lives. They’re livestock, but they have productive, natural, happy lives.

    I don’t understand why we eat so much meat, why animals are kept is such dismal and abusive conditions so we can have meat meat meat in the supermarkets. If there were less of it, (and if it were more expensive) we’d be forced to eat meat more thoughtfully, and in moderation. We aren’t meant to eat this much meat. But we do because it’s cheap and plentiful and it’s a commercial industry we’ve been sold on. But it’s hastening our deaths too. And even the death of the environment. .

    We’re in CT. I wish we had you nearby. I’d most certainly buy a chicken and some eggs regularly. Your chickens are well worth the price. I’m finding eating better is better than eating cheaper. And our income is limited but less meat, more vegetables, more beans, is better for us.

    • You’re welcome. I’m glad you enjoy the site. I agree with you that it’s better to eat a little very good meat than a lot of cheap meat. When you look into what corners need to be cut in order to produce cheap meat, it is appalling. The emphasis on making things as inexpensively as possible, not only hurts the animals, it also hurts the workers as there is tremendous pressure to make them work harder for less. This depresses the wages of everyone working to put that food onto the grocery shelves. Cheap ends up being costly for everyone except a small handful of people. Hopefully you can find a local farmer who can raise chickens and produce eggs from chickens as happy as mine. And few things are as tasty as beans. They are great as is or seasoned with vegetables or a few ounces of high quality meat.

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