Sunday, January 20, 2013

Winter Laying Flock

Once we finished building the greenhouse a few weeks back, we moved the laying hens in from their pasture for the winter.  We've been adding lots of straw and leaves and woodchips to the bedding inside the greenhouse (which the hens love to scratch through, in search of seeds and insect life). We hope to allow much of that material to compost in place, so that we can plant spring vegetables (mostly early tomatoes and cucumbers) there in a few months. 

Meanwhile, the weather has been so mild, that we have left the sheep out to forage through a half-acre field, where we had a late cover-crop planting of oats and vetch.  If it ever gets colder, we'll move them back into the barn, where they were during Hurricane Sandy. 

It's hard to believe, but in just a few weeks we'll begin starting seedlings in the greenhouse.  We're going to build a temporary screen across the greenhouse (to keep the chickens out of the seedlings) and will be relying on the heat from the chickens themselves and from the composting bedding to keep the temperature up.  This is very much an experiment, so we'll just see how it goes. 

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