A couple of months ago, we built an additional 1000+ square feet poultry pen, so we could split our poultry into several family and breeding groups. It is located on the eastern side of the barn and is made of orchard netting tied to posts, with an electric fence around it. The reason we used these materials is that they are cheap, easy and fast to put up. The height of the fence (5 feet) keeps the birds in, and the electric fence keeps predators out. It has been a great success.[flickr_set id=”72157621923274024″]
So, we have two big pens for the adult poultry. These are opened during the day to allow the birds to hunt bugs and eat grass seeds around the property, and then closed up again at about 4pm for predator control. We also have three smaller pens that we can shut within the barn itself. Right now, one of these remains open to the corral to allow the ducks and the young, but grown, guineas to come and go. The middle one is occupied by a duck setting a nest. The last one houses a mother guinea and her third brood of the year, hatched just a week ago.
Each group of birds seems happy and thriving, and the setup for each is working really well.
Our success has created more work for us though: we now need to butcher and eat some guineas, as we are suddenly overrun by them. There is also a rooster on the cull list. We have three when only two are needed, and the oldest one has now gone for Leo a couple of times. It’s something he started doing when one of his hens was setting, so he can’t really be blamed for his behavior, as he’s only doing his job. But seeing as the other two are unbelievably tame and have shown no sign of aggression, he is the one to be culled.