Thursday, July 23, 2015

Chickwagon Summer Review

As another Lame Cherry exclusive in matter anti matter.

I witness so many bright children online with all of these sure fire methods of doing things, and then I always note that they never have any experience with what they are building.

This is a summer review of the Chickwagon which TL and I built in observations of actual testing it.

I was just watching a green egg hen, a rather flighty, not too pretty one, which was brown and white, eating a big green grasshopper. It is in this that the extra protein arrives for these birds in cheap feed, and it kills all those bugs which are in need of pesticide.
So in reality, a few chickens, ducks, turkeys, guineas are the best pesticide ever created.

These chickens we are caring for, know immediately when I put on the rope to pull this tractor ahead. The egg layers, meaning the Wyandottes, the Gold Stars and the Americanas, hurriedly gather to where I am and start poking their heads through the fence looking for more bugs.
The Cornish X also respond, but they like it as it is long cool grass to sit in.

The layers are prone to getting out and leaving themselves in, as the ground is uneven, and I have to stuff the goatikins blankets I have not washed into those holes. I am not that concerned about them in normal situations, but we have coyotes pricking around here too close and even with this Chickwagon by the house, I still want these too tame birds safe.

I mentioned as silver tarp would be better, as this brown one is like a bake oven, but only at the top on hot days. We had some 90 plus degree with like 80% humidity and those Cornish just were gasping, even with the door open and a wire there for better ventilation. I did not lose any birds from heat, but shade trees are better if you can locate your tractor by them. I have some late in the day, but just be aware of that.

That is the  thing in this, in the ones I see, always have mown grass and flat ground. Where we are, that is not such an event. The grass is tall, the wagon is hard to pull through, even with wheels, and when I hit a big weed, it stops it.
Good news is, I can lift one side and move it over it. When the ground is even and the grass not too thick, this Chickwagon does pull easy.
The best way is TL on the one end pushing easily and me pulling with the rope. It does move easy that way I believe......and this is a big house at 12 by 15.

The nice part is the chickens poop, and you just move it to a clean spot 15 feet away. I do this by moving the water to the back, the feed troughs there, and the chickens move there, and I slowly just pull to not run them over, and it works pretty good.
The chickens are learning to move too in being trained. That helps, but when you are careful, it is not a big deal.

Wind and heavy rain has not been a problem. The tarp does not flap with the diamond hitch twine over the top of it, and even in heavy rain, the tarp being 2 feet up the sides, it does not get wet inside. It helps with the ventilation as those meat birds really do not take heat no more than 10 ton Tilly does on a hot day sipping Julips.

The drawbacks I have found are uneven ground. Wood is straight and when ground is not flat, you need to plug the holes. The chickens do not run away from me in this group. They just pick bugs and then go back in on their own. Freedom is a good thing.

Manure is something some are going to be scowling over, as this feed and poop attracts house flies. I have no problem with that, but some will.
The other features is these meat chickens shit like a hog, and allot of it. This is not the wagons fault. It does though produce a layer of manure in a few days. If you get rain regular enough, it breaks down and the grass comes back through. I have not had any lawn burn from this.
This manure situation is going to help if I locate this over the garden after harvest in self fertilizing these spaces. Will just be the half dozen laying chickens then as a test.

The things you need to monitor are the heat, which is not the wagon's fault....shade solves that. The uneven ground, again not the wagon's fault....stuffing things in solves that, and that is about it.

The door on this I had to move the latch as being a large house, it twists some, and that makes it hard to get inside. If you could get a latch with more leeway, that would be a plus.

I really do not see any problems with this device. It saves in pitching shit. The chickens love the grass and bugs. They make happy chicken sounds all the time in being well fed and liking their grass beds, and any problems with it are the sun, ground and those damned predators.

I did see someone putting electric fence on their  tractor, but I prefer trapping and putting this by the house, where with the window open at night I can hear if anything needs to be shot.

I leave a 75 watt heat lamp device on at night. Last night it was 49 degrees. I do not do it for heat, but to keep predators away, and it does bring in bugs at night. The little layers were usually busy chasing bugs at night for more protein.
In the wild, baby ducks and baby grouse, eat nothing but insects, and that is why they grow so fast the swallows and robins. So bugs like ticks, mosquitoes, grasshoppers and whatever being turned into chicken meat is a good thing.

That is the summer review. I would like to be rich and have several of these for other poultry like turkeys and ducks. I like God cleaning chicken pens with a good rain and me just enjoying the birds singing in a new grass spot.

That is about it for this one.