LAM Family Farm

Happy Chickens, Fresh Eggs!

Archive for the tag “Chickens”

Non-GMO Feed!

  • We are excited to announce that we have finally found a local source for Non-GMO supplement for feed.  We will have contact info for them in a future post.
  • We have a new Logo.  We like it so far.  It could change. Tell us in the comments what you think.
  • So we are a Chicken-Tractor, Pastured Poultry,  Non-GMO feed, egg producer.

Massacre at the Farm

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We had a massacre at the Farm last night.  At around noon I awoke to what sounded like a rabbit screaming.  It did not last long.  I looked outside and did not see the dogs alerted so I went back to bed.  A few hours later as I was tending to the feeding. I saw the carnage.  I first noticed that two of our rabbits were missing.  The strange thing was that one cage door was open and one cage door was closed.  Both rabbits were gone.  Next I saw body parts on the ground.  It was our female New Zealand. I found the carcass later under some trees.  The male rabbit is gone.  He is black and white.  We did not find any sign of him.  No hair, no carcass.  We hope he got away and is in hiding.

We have three acres here.  I have not been able to come up with the money to fence it in yet.  I thought rabbits would be safe in their cages.  The mystery is how did the female’s cage get closed?  How did the rabbits get out?  Before I saw the body parts I initially thought someone stole them.  Or a kid left the cage door open.

What I am thinking is that a stray dog came in and upset the rabbits so much(cause when frightened the rabbits bounce around in there) that the cage doors popped open.  I know that the female is dead.  I cannot say for sure the male is dead.

I have the cages about five feet off of the ground.  So a large dog could stand on his hind legs and paw the cages.

So I need to work on securing my cages better.  Farm security is going to be a big issue in 2016.  I choose not to show any pictures of the massacre choosing instead to show a more positive image of “freckles” the chicken.

 

What is a Chicken Tractor?

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Here at LAM Family Farms we raise our chickens in Chicken Tractors.  Just what is a Chicken Tractor?  A Chicken Tractor is  movable chicken housing were the chickens have access to the grass.   I think the word “Tractor” is what throws people off.  More on that in a minute.  The great thing about chicken tractors is that they are so easy to construct and cheap.  I make my chicken tractors out of two cattle panels bent over and attached to a frame built out of 2 X 4’s.  This frame is then surrounded in Chicken wire.  A door is fashioned.  A tarp is attached with zip-ties.  And boom,  Chicken Tractor. 

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The chicken tractors provide security and protection from predation.  Meanwhile the chickens are on grass.  They can eat bugs and grass.  They can scratch.  They dig shallow holes so they can dusty themselves.  Their excrement is fertilizer. All of the scratching and digging and fertilizer is great for my soil.  This is the “tractor” part.  Depending on how long I leave the chicken tractor in one place is how bare the soil can get.  For example, If I leave it in one place for a week or longer I can almost get rid of all vegetation, I call this the scorched earth policy. The soil will be aerated and fertilized.  The shallow holes will hold water.  I use this in order to start my home gardens. Normally I will move the chicken tractors twice a day or every couple of days. 

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Succession of movement

The above picture really shows the affects a Chicken Tractor can have on the soil. At the very top you see dense, darker colored grass.  With each movement there is a different level of new grass growth. 

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Minimal work, No-Till chicken tractor Garden

The picture above is an impromptu garden.  I had a bunch of seeds left over from previous years.  I mixed them up and spread them over this area that I had just moved the chicken tractor from.  I spread the seeds out just before a rain.  You can see above that I had pretty good results.
Chicken tractors are a very handy way to manage chickens. Cheap and easy.  Try it.  If you have any questions contact me. I will help you if I can.

The Rhode Island Red

So over the last few years the Rhode Island Red has quickly became our favorite chicken breed.  We have had many different breeds including White Plymouth rocks, Light Brahmas, New Hampshire red, Americanas. and an assortment of chickens that we did not know the breed. We Really liked the Light Brahma.  This is a big strong chicken.  It grows feathers down its legs.  It is really pretty.  We have Americanas currently.  The girls really enjoy the Easter egg color eggs they lay.

So with our small, tiny little micro-business of selling eggs I have decided on two different breeds.  The Rhode Island Red and the Barred Plymouth Rocks.  This article is on the Rhode Island Red.

In my opinion the Rhode Island Red is one of the best things to come out of the northeastern United States.  It was bred in Rhode Island in the mid 1800’s as a Dual Purpose chicken.  Meaning it was raised to provide both meat and eggs to a family.  To me the Rhode Island Red is a good-sized bird.  It is not as large as a Light Brahma(so naturally does not consume as much feed) and not bantam sized although there is a bantam Rhode Island Red Breed.  We will focus on the standard breed.image

Here are some quick facts:

Rhode Island Red Chicken Info

  • Adult Weight – Male: 8 pounds ; Female: 5.5-6.5 pounds
  • Color – Black and Dark Red (may have some white tipped feathers prior to full maturity is reached), Yellow Skin, Red or Rose colored Crests
  • Purpose – Dual Purpose: egg laying and meat production
  • Egg Color – Brown
  • Egg Production – Prolific: 200 – 280 eggs per year (varies depending on conditions)
  • Country of Origin –United States (Rhode Island)
  • Broodiness – Sometimes Broody
  • Comb – Single

I like this breed because it is really reliable for laying eggs.  200-280 eggs per year is a good amount of eggs.  I also like them because I think they are pretty.  The rusty red color of their feathers really shines in the sunlight.  I had some White Plymouth Rocks before.  They reminded me to much of the chickens that are raised in chicken house CAFOs(concentrated animal feeding operations).

At LAM Family Farms our chickens are raised in chicken tractors.  Where they can scratch in the dirt, chase and eat bugs and really just behave like a chicken.  We are not free range as of yet.  The chicken tractors are to protect the birds from predation.  Just last year we had 12 chickens killed over a three week period.  I let them roam about on the property, free ranging and neighbor’s dogs attacked them. I’m sure dome were killed by foxes or coyotes as well.
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I really like the looks of this bird to.  The iridescence of the feathers combined with the subtle rust color makes for a pretty yard-bird.  The gold colored eyes are almost regal.

So to wrap this up i will say that the RIRs are a good hardy, fairly tame chicken that is fairly reliable at laying eggs.  I still get probably an egg every other day from this three-year old hen.  So decide on a breed or just take what someone will give you and get started raising chickens.

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