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Moving With Poultry

We are finally all settled in at our new home! Moving was a stressful experience, as it always is, but I'm pleased to say that all of the fowl adjusted right away and without complaint.

At our previous, more suburban home, we were in a constant struggle attempting to keep the geese in control, out of the road and neighbor's yards. We tried fencing them, but they broke out easily and we weren't prepared to invest in a more "state of the art" fence when were focused on re-building our new barn. A few times we left them indoors during the day, but doing so just seemed cruel to these big birds.

We moved them to the new farm several days early since we knew they weren't welcome in our old neighborhood. With seven geese transport in a cage or dog crate would require many trips, so we lined the back of our Suburban with tarps and let them loose inside. After a long but quiet drive, they were released into their new pasture.

Since there is not yet a pond at the new farm, we've provided a water tub with a walk in ramp for their daily bathing, and they have the same feed and water troughs as previously. A 4 foot tall no-climb fence is more than enough to keep them in their pasture, and at night they have a stall to sleep safely in. We designed the quarters with a flock of 10-20 in mind, so there's more than enough room for the current gaggle to spread out.

It was also high time to move the chickens. In the past month our flock had been decimated from 14 robust birds to just five survivors. While I am not certain of the culprit, the timing and evidence of the attacks indicated some new neighborhood dogs might be to blame. For the last two weeks at our old home, our hens were locked in the henhouse day and night to keep them safe, and to say the least they were not pleased.

The meager chicken flock fit easily into a transporting crate, and were excited to be released to their new digs. The new coop again was built for a much larger group, so our current ladies have extra space. Within an hour two eggs were laid in the cutting edge new nesting boxes, and the girls were busily scratching away in the pasture with the geese. The fence isn't chicken proof, but they don't seem to have a desire to get around it.

Last but not least came us, and our worldly possessions. It took three trips with a U-Haul to get the last of our "stuff" to the new home, though the majority of it will be stored in the barn until a larger house is built.

One room in the house we've outfitted with electricity and filled with a bed, bureau, television, and small sitting area. It is a spot to sleep, but most of our time will be spent in the barn. Fully electrified, with running water, the barn has a kitchen area set up with two hot plates and a crock pot, all of my pots and pans and dishes, chairs for dining, and a coffee maker. Across the hall are the quiet honks of the geese, and our barn cat is making herself very at home among the lofts. For our final touch of domestication, we built a shower on the edge of the barn, outside, overlooking the pasture and fields.

So we are now living at Hostile Valley Farm! Over the next few weeks I look forward to explaining more about our situation, building on the work we've done, and expanding our new farm.


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