Wednesday, May 22, 2013
Chickens at Howell Living History Farm
This past January, visiting Mercer County's Howell Living History Farm to watch them collect pond ice, we also got a tour of the chicken coop. There was quite a crowd of chickens, but fresh straw was strewn all about. In the foreground is the watering can (heated to prevent freezing). Perhaps the cone-shaped "hat" over the water can prevents chickens from roosting on top of the can, and reflects some of the heat back down in winter. In back are all the nests.
On the left in this second photo are two parallel boards that serve as roosts where the chickens pass the night in a trance-like state.
The roost is also where they leave 90% of their droppings, so it's good to have a designated location for roosting that can be easily cleaned. I've also heard that chickens can sometimes squabble over which gets the highest roosting site, which may be why both of these long roosting boards are the same height.
Chickens + food + TLC = eggs + kids + delight
Though I'm sure there's more to keeping all these chickens happy, what often meets the eye at Howell Farm is an appealing simplicity.
Their calendar of events is here: http://www.howellfarm.org/calendar/calendar.htm