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Why we have Free-Range Chickens at May Hill Farm

March 31, 2021

If you haven’t noticed yet, we love our chickens around here!  So much so that we just added 124 chicks to our flock!

There are the most entertaining animals on the farm.  Besides the kids, they are the only ones that get to free-range around here.  And they love that!!!!  I mean LOVE it!

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What does it mean to have free-range chickens?

According to the dictionary, free-range means to be kept in natural conditions, having freedom of movement.

Well these chickens love their freedom of movement!  Our laying hens are the chickens that get to free-range on our farm.  The meat chickens have a chicken tractor (I’ll explain that more another day).  We currently have 21 laying hens and 1 rooster.  They have a cute chicken coop with nesting boxes, roosts, and a window.  In the morning we open their little chicken door and then all come filing out.  We usually have some treats (strawberries, blueberries, lettuce, etc.) from our grocery store produce hall that we scatter for them on the ground when they come out in the morning.  From there they go about their day scratching and pecking around in the haymow, in the grass, in the garden, and in the barn. 

During the day they might come back in the coop to lay eggs or they find their favorite spot in the haymow to lay them.  Then in the evening they all find their way back to the coop.  We lock the chicken door for the night to keep them safe and take a quick head count to make sure everyone is in.  They all have their roost spots that they have claimed and are recharged and ready to go in the morning.

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Why do we like to have our chickens free-range?

Well, honestly…some days we don’t love it (like when they dig up the plants in the garden).  But most days we do! 

  • Chickens eat bugs like fly larvae, ticks, and mosquitos
  • Chickens work up the soil (this is great before we plant the garden, not so great after we plant the garden)
  • They eat grain that the calves or steers knock out of their feeders
  • They eat grain that we spill when we are filling feeders
  • The eggs are so flavorful and have deep orange yolks
  • They are fun to watch!
  • The kids burn off a lot of energy chasing the chickens around!!!

Next time you stop out at the farm take a minute to say hi to the chickens and see what they are up to!

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