Been documenting for the last year or so our chicken raising system here at Edible Acres. We've modeled it after Vermont Composting company's system using incoming food scraps from various local farms and whole grain bartered from local organic larger farms... Its working really well overall, still a lot to learn for sure. Check out the video and any ideas and feedback would be awesome! The youtube channel 'edibleacres' has a lot of different videos from the beginning of this process onward...
Thanks for sharing! It looks like a great system. Do you supplement their feed with anything else, or are you able to keep them on just the scraps you are collecting? I liked the idea of caging off sections to allow worms and maggots to develop and then open it up for the chickens again. I wonder if just putting down a piece of plywood or something could work for that. I liked the protective cape for the hens--pretty clever! Good luck on the water heating--hope that works well.
Thanks Kevin! Sure, there is a lot to improve on with it indeed, but the basic concept is working pretty well so far. We do suppliment their feed with local, organic, waste whole grains from farmers who sellseed to other farmers. Bartering for large barrels of left over seed that we soak in big mixes to sprout and then give to the chickens. We spread it out in the main yard so whatever they don't eat can grow into a crop for them to eat later. Working nicely so far, still more to refine.
Awesome system! Where do you get all your scraps from?
We have the same issues you are having with broody hens, egg production, and poor hens loosing back feathers.
We did an experiment and locked up all but one mature rooster. All of those problems immediately got better.
I believe the hens go broody more when there's more roosters because it's the only time they get a break. They also lay more eggs because they aren't as stressed.
I don't think you should get rid of all of the roosters though. The hens can easily tolerate one roo and as long as there is one, you will have a system that will keep itself going. You never have to buy chicken or chickens again. We just eat extra Roos and sell extra hens...why pay for chickens down the road when you can make them for free!
Thanks for the feedback and questions. The scraps come from a number of places. Some come from a local business doing organic lactoferment products. We pick up ever other week about 10 buckets of organic veggie scraps. All summer our garden produces a lot lot of scraps, and there is a ton of comfrey planted to provide them good things as well.
We ended up harvesting 3 of the 4 roosters, and the over all stress on the hens has gone down a tremendous amount. Feathers growing back in, etc...
I made an update video about this system that shows how the operation evolves to adapt to winter conditions. The new compost setup is much larger and closer to their coop to help protect the coop from winter raw cold and put their 'work' and 'play' close to home for those days that are super rough... Maybe this is interesting for folks to see?