Though we had chickens, ducks and other poultry in the past, it was always part of the traditional "coop & run" system that depended on outside input and we got rid of them years ago. But after listening to Jack and Geoff and seeing how they can be used more sustainably, ie tractors, paddocks etc I want to try again.
A friend of mine needed an alder tree in her yard cut down and in return (along with getting to keep the wood for smoking meats!!
) she gave me 3 laying Silver Laced Wyandotte hens! I've built a 3' H x 3' W x 16' L coop against the west wall in my greenhouse for now but am looking to avoid as much purchased food as possible after a transitional period (she fed them Purina Layena pellets) as well as get them some exercise. The main problem is that winter is here in North Idaho and we do get 4'+ of snow cover on a regular annual basis. Also I live out in the woods and the predators get mighty hungry so keeping them safe will be a MAJOR concern. A secure
tractor seems to be the best arrangement and I'm in the process of getting some materials together. There's only the "Huntress" and I in the household, besides the 5 dogs, so there aren't going to be a whole lot of table scraps to share with them.
If anyone in the northlands has "sustainable chicken wintering experience" to share or can point me to some good threads here or other links, Id greatly appreciate it. I've already gotten 5 eggs off of my new "girls"
over the past week and it's SO nice to be eating fresh eggs again, even if they aren't from "scratch". Thanks in advance for your help!!