Red Sex Link Hens
I just wanted to post an update on our pastured Red Sex Link laying hens. Last week I moved them from the brooder to the chicken coop I built. I kept them in that coop for a week just to make sure they knew where their home was. These Red Sex Link Hens should start laying in about 12 more weeks and when they do I want them to know where the nest boxes are.
This week I started opening the coop door in the morning and closing them back in at night. They have a very large fenced in yard in which to free-range. Chickens generally need about 10 square feet of grazing area per hen. Less than that and you wind up with bare ground in short order. Another option to a large fenced in area is to keep the birds in a chicken tractor – a mobile pen that is moved on a regular basis. Here’s a video I took yesterday of them out eating grass and bugs.
It’s amazing how much they have grown and now that they are getting to free-range I expect these red sex link hens to grow even faster. There are several nice things about pasture raising the hens. First, I believe it is a more natural for them and certainly provides them with a higher quality of life than being cooped up in a coop. Secondly, they are going to get a better balance of food. Thirdly they will debug the pasture. And finally, they will eat less of that expensive chicken feed I have to buy at the Tractor Supply.
Actually, the best thing about pasture raising red sex link hens is the quality of the eggs they produce. You can see some real differences between a coop raised hen’s eggs and a pasture raised hen’s eggs. But seeing is only small part of the story. Pastured eggs taste better and are more nutritious too.
If you live in central Arkansas and you want to get on the list for eggs let me know. They should be available beginning in June.