Red Bucket Farm is an urban farm on a quarter acre property in an average residential neighborhood. We are located in Wisconsin, USDA Zone 5. We focus on chickens, bees, orchard fruit, and raised garden beds for fruits and veggies. We hope to reduce our footprint on the planet by growing some of our food, reducing our use of fossil fuels, and gardening with sustainable practices. Thanks for visiting!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Chicken Truce

The chickens at Red Bucket Farm have finally arrived at a truce. It's been a difficult transition over the last month or two as the younger pullets arrive at maturity. The older hens have been defending their dominance while the younger ones have been asserting their independence. There have been confrontations, bloody combs, and even one eye blinded. It's not called pecking order for nothing.

We took a number of measures to help alleviate tension for the hens. Most importantly, we built new nest boxes. The new nest boxes allow for more privacy while laying eggs. You can read about that in my Sept. 23 blog post.

We've also provided some new distractions to keep them from pecking at each other. The flock block pictured above is similar to providing suet for song birds, except much bigger and stuffed with seeds and grains. I'm also periodically giving the girls a whole cabbage which takes them a full day to destroy, and they enjoy windfall apples from the local orchard.

Finally, I think the flock has banded together in the face of adversity. Predator hawks have been increasing all summer, including one hawk that flew directly inside the coop! The girls really stick together when hawks are around. We've made modifications to provide more daytime cover for the hens, and the coop door no longer stands open to welcome predators.

We're happy to report that egg production is way up. It's true that happy chickens really do lay more eggs.

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