14 February 2009

In response to my last post, Lausanne asked where I found out about Turkens and I'm proud to say it was in my Christmas stocking! I'm completely delighted with this little magazine that Russ gave me because it's exactly my speed... I'm a slow learner and I know absolutely nothing about chickens. That's a Turken on the cover.

The proper name for the breed is "Naked Neck" but Turken is so much more colorful, don't you think?

I've been reading all the books my little local library has on chickens. The first book presumes your "small flock" is 100 to 300 chickens. I was thinking dozen or so this year! It also mentioned all the terrible things chickens do to eachother and that one should prevent this with an improved environment but didn't give a single suggestion of HOW.

That's big ag for you....

Second book was called The Chicken Health Handbook by Gail Damerow and THAT was a useful tome! She gives really clear explanations of why chickens get sick, peck eachother, and do what chickens do. She also advocates for letting chickens be chickens. Now that's good advice with any animal! Her answer to pecking: they're compulsively attracted to the sight of blood. Her basic fix? Exactly what you said you did Laussane... darkness. If they can't see it then they won't peck. (Now you can take your time getting to the library in all that Vermont snow!)

That exhausted the local adult holdings of the Jesse Peterman Memorial Library. Now I'm on to the juvenile section which had a useful looking book geared to the young 4-H crowd. I've not had a chance to crack it but I'm thinking the coop plans and management strategies will be better geared to my size of flock.

One of these nights I'm going to turn the thermostat up in the basement (or maybe get the WiFi fixed) and see what Temple Grandin, the livestock handling expert, might have observed about the needs of chickens. I'm imagining, based on the few loose flocks I've seen, that they like a variety of heights in their perches and nice tight roosts that feel like they're unassailable.

Tips anyone?

1 comment:

Luscious Lather said...

Not from me. I'm waiting to hear what you found out next. I LOVE chickens! We have all spoken fondly of the dream of leaving here and buying some land...a farm...and having some chickens.... In the meantime, I can just tell you that I detest seagulls and pelicans are horrid. Logan