Our experience feeding chickens and collecting eggs on a free range chicken farm, and introductions to some newly-found free range families.
Platform University Goes Fowl
We’ve been part of the Platform University community for several months now, using the resources there to help us build out DitchingSuburbia.com.
I’m betting Michael Hyatt never foresaw this while planning out Platform University….a PU meetup in a Texas field with free-range chickens streaming around.
Our travels have taken us to Texas and we arranged a meetup with Leslie Marchand at Whitehurst Heritage Farms.
Leslie and her husband Michael gave us an education on raising free-range chickens.
Free Range Chicken Management
Their Houston-area farm consists of several flocks of birds all on several acres of grassland. Each flock has a few hundred birds that share a coop. Inside the coops are roosting and egg-laying structures along with places for the chickens to get fresh water.
Outside the coops are feed troughs and yard space all contained by temporary fencing. There are two dogs assigned guard-duty to protect the chickens from hawks, coyotes and other local predators.
After a few days in one spot the entire coop and fence arrangement is moved to a fresh spot in the pasture. After a relatively short period of time the land where the coop was renews itself and you can barely tell the chickens were there.
Working under Leslie and Michael’s guidance we fed the chickens, gathered eggs, and moved one of the coops to a fresh spot.
Not My First Chicken Rodeo
One of my first jobs was at a chicken farm.
That farm was the more typical “factory” approach to managing chickens with large, long barns where the birds were kept in cages the entire time. My job there was to remove chickens that had aged past their prime laying time and put them in tall rolling carts that were then loaded onto semi trucks (bound for “chicken soup camp”).
This was the first time the girls had each handled chickens. Miranda was determined to learn how to catch one, so after a bit of coaching I set her loose to stalk one. See the video below for the results.
We come home with probably the freshest eggs we’ve ever had (I know I grabbed at least one that was “fresh off the line” so to speak).
Leslie and Michael also gave us a cleaned and frozen chicken that we are looking forward to baking.
If you are in the NW Houston area and need free range eggs or meat chickens (or a great field trip destination for a homeschool class or scout tribe) be sure to get in touch with Whitehurst Heritage Farms.
Michael and Leslie are great teachers!