Editor’s Note: There are still some places left on Jesse’s PDC course at PRI’s Zaytuna Farm in NSW, Australia. Book now!
by Jesse Lemieux
“Oops I hadn’t thought about that.”
Recently, we got our hands on three Chantecler pullets. The Chantecler is a true blue Canadian breed developed in Quebec by Brother Wilfred Chantelain. Bred for cold hardiness these birds are a medium to heavy breed. You will notice in the picture of our three beauties almost a complete absence of comb and wattle. The comb and wattle help chickens regulate body temperature, so it stands to reason that a cold hardy bird wouldn’t have them. Their attributes make them a perfect candidate for the chicken tractor here in our cool climate in Canada.
We picked up the Chantecler pullets about three weeks ago and put them to work in a chicken tractor on the post harvest potato bed. They will give it a good scratching and scoop up the weed seeds and any pest larva that thought it a good place to settle down. When they are finished we will give the whole patch a thick mulch of sea weed and seed it up with a legume cover crop, likely winter field peas.
So why were the chickens a concern at 4:00 pm yesterday afternoon?
Because we where heading into Vancouver the next morning to teach a Food Forest workshop and we hadn’t made any provisions for their feeding through the weekend. They have a watering can, but we go out every morning and afternoon to give a few handfuls of chicken feed, and greens from the garden.
We thought about asking a friend to stop in and take care for us, but this was the ‘11th hour.’
Thank heaven for the internet. A quick search of “homemade chicken feeder” brought me to this great blog.
- 1 small plastic bucket
- 1 old pie plate
- 2 screws
- 1 coat hanger
Cut two half moon holes in the side of the bucket near the bottom. Then attach the pie plate to the bottom of the bucket with the screws. Use the coat hanger to make a hook hanger for the feeder. 5 minutes later and you are finished. The last step is to load it up with feed then hang it out for the chickens stand back and watch it work.
You could go out and buy one of these from an agriculture store for $30-$50. I prefer this.