Agustin is pulling one of the 22 chicken tractors, that we have made in the last year, out into the field. It will be the new home of graduating chicks from the brooder house. At five weeks old, we are able to determine the sex of the Black Austrolorps. The males have thicker legs and develop a comb a week or so before the females. We then take the two week hatch of males and put them in a house on their own separate from the females who have their own abode. We keep them apart because, sad to say, the boys dominate the females at the feed trough. The females are going to lay eggs and need to have the very best nutrition. The boys will get all they need and more if we let them.
These chicken tractors are moved down the field to give them all fresh pasture, throughout the time they are in them. This is 16 to 18 weeks for the boys and 26 weeks for the sorority girls. The boys are processed and the girls move to the laying flock.
You will have seen on these pages that I tell people we grow all our own fertility and do not buy in any. Here the brown layers are having a dust bath in food waste compost from San Francisco. Last year, we hosted two film crews for Recology showing them how we spread the compost and explained how important it was in bringing our soil back to life. We now no longer need it. Recology had Five cubic yards delivered, so the reporters could get shots of it being spread and talk to your celebrity farmer.