I’ve been itching to introduce some birds (ducks, turkeys & chickens) in the farm & finally the other day got a pair of local breed chicken. Rough estimation of this variety suggests that they lay about 45 eggs a year & need i say that they do provide very tasty meat, plus they also do their bit in pest control & of course their droppings improve the fertility of soil in the farm. Anyway those issues can be known to us only in the coming few months. Now in fact the first question which comes to me is whether we should let them free in the farm or keep them confined to a coop ?

As of now, they are free, will figure out over time what type of enclosure is the best, once they start laying eggs & when we have some chicks. When there are chicks, then the hovering Kestrels can swoop down on them any moment, then of course in the night they will need protection from predators like snakes & foxes. As of now, they are free during the day & come back into their bamboo baskets during dusk. But the most important aspect for me is to learn how to provide a healthy environment for these birds to live, free from all mites & making sure that they do not fall ill, by providing the right vaccines at the right time or may be we will be able to administer homeopathic medicines if required.

They of course will mess around with the mulch, their hunger is insatiable, we need to evolve a good diet, with a proper amount of grains & proteins, so that one can see them sitting quietly for a while & not foraging all the time. Thankfully we do not have much vegetables growing in the farm (as of now it’s basically the field crops like wheat, chick peas, ground nuts & oats), so the mulch is not intensive as it would be, but come March again it will be a new challenge, with the fields covered with mulch…. but by then we would’ve been able to work out a chicken tractor design……