Santos Family FarmSantos Family Farm

by Joe Santos

Today I cleaned out the chicken barn. I do this every other week in the summer, and once a week when it gets wet outside. There is nothing that will make you feel closer to your flock of birds than walking around in their home and cleaning up after them. It’s so interesting to watch their behavior and you realize there’s this whole little society going on. Some chickens are very noisy, some are very quiet. Some are laying around enjoying the sunshine, others are constantly running around and pecking at one thing or another.  Some seem to be constantly pissed off and will start a fight with anyone and anything that offends them. Some chickens spend all their time outside the house, others never seem to want to go outside. I can’t help but wonder if God looks down at earth and sees the same things that I see when I look at the chicken house.

This is a picture of our second chicken house. You can see the original one back and to the right of it. I thought the original one would be plenty enough space for a long time, but our eggs are so popular that we decided to put in a second bigger house. These houses are just for sleeping in and laying eggs. We certainly encourage the chickens to be outside as much as possible otherwise. However, chickens don’t like to be wet, so they tend to run inside when it rains. The second house is definitely second generation, using lessons learned from the first one:

  • Lots more roosts in the second barn. You can’t have too many. Like humans, some chickens just don’t get along with others and they need space.
  • This second house is taller with a bigger door. It will be big enough to drive the tractor inside which will make cleaning up the chicken manure a lot easier. Chicken manure is heavy!
  • This second house will have a 12 foot overhang on one side which will provide shelter from the rain in the winter and heat in the summer. This will hopefully encourage the chickens to be outside even more.
  • This second house will have a storage room inside of it as well as a separate room for chicks. It is important to keep the chicks separate from the older birds for several months, otherwise the older birds pick on the younger ones, eat their food, etc. This will also keep the chicks from wandering off and getting lost as well as just keep them feeling safe and calm until they’re old enough to handle the outside world.
About Joe
December 4, 2017