This past week, our Rudd Rangers have been truly enjoying their new found freedom!
Every morning, I walk out to their tractor and pull it onto a fresh spot. (Might I add that you will not want to keep them too close to your house as they do poop a lot!) Next, I open up the door and all the excited chickens come running out! I fill up their feeder with pellets and fill up their 3 gallon water tank, and forget them until evening comes. In the past, we kept our meat chickens out in a faraway pasture, where they were out of sight. That can be a very dangerous gamble, as predators will soon find out there are free chicken nuggets wandering around unattended. However, this time around, the rangers are at the back of our large yard where I can look out the window to check on them multiple times a day.
They still are some of the friendliest, most tame chickens out there! When we go into the yard, they follow behind us like an orange parade. The roosters in the bunch have starting trying to crow and harass the hens a little (if you know what I mean…). All the Rudd Rangers have vivid, glossy red and orange feathers. Although they are averaging 4.5 pounds each this week, they still look a bit like gangly teenagers. Long legs, huge feet, and an awkward, but hilarious, run. When they all decide to take off through the yard, I can’t help but see a pack of velociraptors with feathers and wobbling crops. Along with pellets and whatever they find free-ranging, they enjoy scraps from the kitchen. It won’t be long and they will fill out into big, plump birds.
Even though we and the Rudds are enjoying a carefree existence right now, it is time to start planning for processing day. Keep following our journey for a post on our butchering setup and supplies soon!