Our barn has 3 chicken pens, one of which was most recently used to quarantine the newest sheep. Each pen has walls made of chicken wire with roosts, nest boxes, a pop-door plus feed and water.
Our chickens are spoiled. Ask anyone who’s seen them. They have more space than they need, automated lights and doors, they even have heat. Not a heat lamp, oh no, our barn has a natural gas heater because it also has running water. Our chickens are spoiled.
Earlier last spring I took a pen away from the chickens so the sheep would have a place to lamb. As it happened, it was the biggest pen, 20 x 16 or so, the luxury suite that usually housed our purebred Icelandic chickens.
The Icelandic pen has served as a lambing jug, a puppy pen, quarantine, Mia’s heat pen and now it’s just waiting for it’s next “best use”. I think the time has come to give it back to the chickens, or rather, the chickens think it’s time to give it back to the chickens.
A few of our hens have made daily pilgrimages through a small gap in the chicken wire to make perfectly round nests in the built-up layers of straw from the recent sheep invasion. In these perfect nests we find a single egg every day. Not all the nests get eggs but usually two or three get used each day. And then the chickens climb back into the general pen from whence they came. We have never seen a chicken in the Icelandic/sheep/puppy pen, we just find the eggs.
I think this weekend sounds like an awesome time to clean up and clean out and let our hard working hens have the space they are trying so hard to claim.