My aging flock - the benefits of a 'natural' coop!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Lelilamom, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. Lelilamom

    Lelilamom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 28, 2013
    We do our best to provide as natural an environment as possible for our flock. A well insulated, but unlit, unheated coop with plenty of ventilation. A completely fenced run and a very large free range area that provides shade, sun, lots of grass, small rocks, dirt and undergrowth/brush.

    The benefits are beautiful, healthy hens that lay year round. We also have some senior girls. 3 RSL, 3 Amber Whites and 1 RIR turning 4 years old this March and 1 RSL and 1 Buff Orp turning 5 at the end of this month.

    Here is a picture of Hidey, our 5 yr old RSL and Lightning our 5 yr old Buff Orp. Hidey is the Queen of the Coop. She eats first and roosts first. She's slowing down however, walking slower these days and lays only a few days a week now, but the other hens don't mess with her. She just finished her third molt about a month ago. Lightning is at the bottom of the pecking order and has had her comb pecked so often its stunted. She's only in the coop at night and is taken out during the day to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine by the front door of the house eating oats, treats and water from the rain barrel. She's also the "community greeter", going from house to house in our neighborhood begging for treats. And she gets them. She doesn't lay eggs that we know of. Lightning is our only mama, raising two chicks a few years ago. She goes broody every spring.

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  2. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Nice looking hens. I have a couple going on 9 years old, and a few that are 8, and down the line. Most of mine pass at about 4-6 with a few going on to be older.
     
  3. Lelilamom

    Lelilamom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Your birds are simply beautiful! What a flock! I wish we could have such a flock, but we aren't allowed to have any, so the 30+ we have are on the sly, hidden behind a hill on our property. So many of our hybrids don't live past 2 years and even some of our heritage met unfortunate ends on our small but isolated property long before their time should have come.

    One day, we would love to move to a farm and have a large flock like yours. Where they have long lives too! Enjoy!
     
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  4. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs Lots of Chickens Premium Member

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    Thank you so much. You must be good at it to keep them all "hidden", mine can be a noisy bunch. I don't keep those hybrids anymore, they always seem off to me and I get plenty of eggs without them.
     
  5. Lelilamom

    Lelilamom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We decided two years ago we wouldn't raise hybrids anymore when they started dying at 20 weeks from genetic/kidney/reproductive issues. Once my geriatric birds have passed on, I'll get more, but they will be heritage. But until then, we're keeping ourselves limited to 30. It's tough to keep them quiet, but the hills keep the sound contained and our poor rooster got killed by a hawk, so his 4:30 AM alarm isn't a worry anymore. Fortunately we have lovely neighbors so they didn't mind hearing his faint crow which did carry up and over the trees.
     

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