Island Cohousing News

Pastured Poultry Project

Island Cohousing has taken the leap. With our new chicken tractor and (45 or so) chickens we're now farmers. The first group of birds were Fedex-ed here in early May and kept warm in three Cohousing homes for around 3 weeks before moving into their new home in the field.

We have borrowed from several sources to create our first prototype chicken tractor. So far, although we've captured a raccoon nearby we've not lost one chicken to predators. The tractor is a little heavy for one person to lift and wheel it the 8 feet or so, but it's not bad for a first design.

We have taken on the chickens in part because we're adventurous and want to produce our own food. But more, we are part of a larger, island-wide effort by many people, including the Island Grown Initiative, to help strengthen the community of large and "back yard" farmers.

Our "crop" is on the whole healthy, tho we have lost a few weak ones. Each day we move the tractor to give the chickens fresh grass, and their diet is supplemented with feed. All in all raising chickens this way doesn't take up much chore-time — just water, feed and walk 8 feet. Besides, the chores are easily shared by others.

When it's time for "harvest," we will gather the chickens and Island Grown's mobile poultry processing trailer will help us and other neighbor farmers humanely and efficiently process the birds for our freezers. We will repeat the whole process through the end of September and share the fresh, very local chicken.

We will happily share our process with all who are thinking about starting their own "back yard" farm. If you are curious we'd love to hear from you!