Check out these chicks.. and a key thing you need to know about chickens

The gals had their first free jaunt in the yard this weekend, and it was the perfect opportunity for some glamour shots! They are growing quickly and we are in the process of acclimatizing them for the coop. My go-to site for chicken raising info, The Chicken Chick has some great tips for how to make the transition from brooder to coop here. She takes a more holistic approach to raising chickens that is great!

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Dot — the most curious of the bunch

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Lily shaking off after a dust bath

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Maybel — can totally see how birds are direct descendants of dinosaurs

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Fries the bantam!

 

Soo idyllic right? Free range birds in nature. Yes and No… This is what I like to do — look at both side of the situation. While we are happy we chose to raise chickens, there is major thing that is coming apparent:

***They poop — a lot. Not complaining here, just stating a fact. While its way less than what our 90 lb. dog produces in a day, poop still happens. Unlike our pooch – the birds don’t try to avoid it  – they walk it, then walk on each other. I will be writing on how we plan to manage our poop, as we are in the process of setting up our backyard composter! A great compliment to our basement vermicomposter!

As in my post on the tragic reality of male layers, I want to emphasize the scale of this. Imagine how much poop is produced in commercial battery cages.

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Again, why there are huge animal abuse issues in these places (and yes — this is how a vast majority of eggs are produced – this is not the exception). We try to view our health more holistically, so I’m not sure that something produced in abusive and poop-filled conditions are inherently good for my health. Sure, these eggs may more or less have the same nutritional elements as free range eggs, but if something is produced in horrid conditions, I do believe that ‘heaviness’ is then inherent to it. Life is heavy enough without fueling our bodies with heavy food.

And further — whats happening with all that poop? When our birds free range, they are dropping their droppings throughout our yard. A poop here and there. It doesn’t become concentrated. It soaks into our soil, nourishing the grass, which the birds will eat again… much more cyclical (…cue Lion King ‘Circle of Life’ here??) As above, no grass to soak up the poop. It becomes super concentrated in storage lagoons.

An aerial photo of a 'shit lagoon' from a hog farm

An aerial photo of a ‘shit lagoon’ from a hog farm

That is poop — an awful lot of poop. Not only would that reek, as factory farm feed is anything but high quality, but these tend to flood in heavy rain. Now we have shit rivers. This is how water supplies (YOUR water supply!!) become contaminated. I know that many people don’t take to the animal rights’ perspective. They believe that animals are for food. We are free to think as we choose. So this is why I like to tie our own individual health into much larger scale issues. I like my water just fine without additional ‘additives’.

 

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