Fox Trot Farm

Grass Fed Lamb, Fresh Eggs, Honey, Soap, Tours, & Farm Fun!

Fox Trot Farm Chickens in the Winter

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Hawk attacks, limited fresh food….bet you never thought about all the challenges free range hens have in the winter.

Early in November we had our first hawk attack of the winter, so we moved our hens and Mr. Roo to their smaller winter home. Hawks seem to be reluctant to swoop into a more confined area to catch their dinner, so we moved the hen houses closer together, decreased the range area, and put them in the pasture with Turk (our Anatolian Shepherd Livestock Guardian Dog) so he can help guard them by running and barking at swooping birds of prey.

Hens, Houses, Feeders

The little house to the left has the nest boxes, where the hens lay their eggs. Almost all of them generally roost for the night in the larger house. You can see how close their feeders and waterer are to their houses, so they can quickly run for shelter when the hawks fly over.

Turk and Hens' Pallet Roost

Our chickens love a “playground,” so we gave them a pallet. They all jump up, and then jump down, and then up again, and down….you get the idea. ūüôā
See how close Turk is to the hens? He can guard them without the temptation of “playing” with them!

Chickens' Winter Range
Chickens really enjoy¬†a good salad bar, and quickly consume every piece of green foliage growing in their smaller winter range. I collect chickweed from the wild places on our farm and feed it to them daily. I think it’s the secret to healthy chickens and quality eggs with dark, rich yolks in the winter.

Carly and Hens
You can see Carly, our Border Collie puppy, outside the fence “supervising.” She is our¬†shadow as we¬†do our¬†daily farm chores, and we work on training and discipline along the way, which she considers to be great fun.

Hens, Feeders, Nesting House
Here you can see how easy it is for me to pick up eggs from the outside of the little house.

Eggs in Nest Box
“Rules” say that there should be one nest box for every 5 birds, but nobody told these girls, and sometimes I find many more eggs in one nest.¬†They are so beautiful, and it’s always with happy¬†anticipation that I collect eggs every day.

We sell our large blue and brown eggs daily for $3 a mixed dozen. Delicious eggs are made by happy, healthy chickens!

 

**Farm Tours**

When you come to the farm to buy eggs, you can see many of our animals from the driveway. We are happy to give farm tours (to touch and feed our animals, pick up eggs, and learn about honey bees in the apiary) by appointment for $5/person, with no charge for children under 3 years old. The tour takes approximately one hour.

 

8 Comments

  1. Hey Debbie, I love reading about your daily life on Fox Trot Farm. It brings back a lot of my childhood memories. I didn’t realize you would be such a natural at this.
    I’d love to come take a tour one day.
    Love you,
    Mary Lee

  2. Oh boy, I have been getting much too confident letting my chickens out to free range during the nice days we’ve been having. I was actually convinced that the red tail hawks wouldn’t bother them and the cooper’s hawk only comes around once in a blue moon. I guess I have to keep them in now that I know the red tail actually does attack hens! I’m so sorry to hear that! Love watching the girls go patrolling around the house in search of bugs and bird seed but I would hate to lose one.

    We did have a rooster that was attacked by said cooper’s hawk a couple of years ago, that was an awful ordeal. He survived but not without a couple of stitches by our local vet (I hate admitting that but my daughter witnessed the attack and was horrified, I couldn’t not take him for help and after all of that, after nursing him back to health, he ended up being so mean to us! Had to carry a stick and keep your eyes behind you to avoid being rushed from behind, haha!)

    Love your nest boxes by the way!

    Jan

    • Janice, I was cleaning out the hen houses one sunny day when a red tail hawk flew low overhead, screaming and circling. All the chickens ran for cover! I’m sure she was the same hungry bird that killed one of the hens earlier in the winter!

  3. Love reading about Fox Trot Farm! Hope some day to get a chance to stop by to buy eggs! My friend has chickens and they love to lay their eggs all in the same nest!

  4. When I was a small child (6 – 7) we lived in Mississippi and my mom had chickens. One of my jobs was to collect the eggs everyday. Once, when she was shopping for some biddies, she bought me a black tiny chicken. The hens rejected it and I raised it inside the house, in a box with a light. It followed me around like a puppy. We cannot have chickens where we live as they are considered livestock and that’s a no-no. I think two or three would be fun though. We do have Cooper’s hawks that prey on our birds we feed.

    • What a wonderful story, Mary. What was your little black chick’s name? I bet it was just precious!

      Our hawk predator is a red tail hawk. I have a great picture of one taking off after feasting on one of my hens last winter…caught it in the act with my trail cam!

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