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Chickens for meat and eggs - 2012 update

a free-ranging hen
My all time most popular post is the first one I wrote about chicken tractors, I had no idea that it would be so useful or interesting, so I wrote a few follow-up posts this year with as much detail as I could think of.  We also made a new tractor, so I was able to follow the process from start to finish and write a nice detailed post.  Our chickens spend the day in their tractors and the afternoon free-ranging (if they're well-behaved).

the new chicken tractor

some chickens demonstrating one of the old tractors
 We haven’t used the incubator again since March this year, we want to get through the Christmas break without having chicks to look after, so will start in January.  Last year we managed to improve our hatch rate (from a very low base), and in the end we had a good number of replacement pullets and roosters for the freezer.  By next winter we should be able to cull some older hens and roosters again too.  We also bought some more White Leghorns to expand our breeding stock, and I wrote a bit about why we stick with the heritage breeds and how to tell the gender of the chicks.

Incubator intricacies...

Caring for baby chicks

Buying new chickens

Determining the gender of young chickens

Why choose heritage breeds of chickens and vegetables

more chickens in a tractor
If you want chicks, you need a rooster (or three) and I wrote a bit about our crazy roosters.

deck chickens thinks she's a dog
And then how to butcher them….

butchering the chickens
I solved a few common chicken problems…

question for next year - why doesn't Boris have a tail?
Experimented with different chicken feeds….

And recommended an excellent chicken book

more hens....
By the end of the year we are getting 10 eggs a day from 19 hens of various ages.  We have four roosters, three living in one tractor all together. I am hoping we will soon get some guinea fowl, so I'll be able to tell you all about them next year  How are your chickens doing this year?  Please comment below and feel free to post a link to your own blog if you’ve written a similar summary.

Wilbur posing for the camera

By the way, my chicken eBook is now available if you want to know more about backyard chickens and using chicken tractors.  More information over at the chicken tractor ebook blog.  Or you can get it directly from my shop on Etsy (.pdf format), or Amazon Kindle or just send me an email eight.acres.liz {at}

What's the eBook about?
Chickens in a confined coop can end up living in an unpleasant dust-bowl, but allowing chickens to free-range can result in chickens getting into gardens and expose them to predators.

 A movable cage or “chicken tractor” is the best of both options – the chickens are safe, have access to clean grass, fresh air and bugs. Feed costs are reduced, chickens are happier, and egg production increases. 

 But how do you build a chicken tractor? What aspects should be considered in designing and using a chicken tractor effectively? In this eBook I aim to explain how to make a chicken tractor work for you in your environment to meet your goals for keeping chickens. 

I also list what I have learnt over 10 years of keeping chickens in tractors of various designs and sizes, from hatching chicks, through to butchering roosters.

Reviews of the Design and Use a Chicken Tractor

Chris from Gully Grove

Going Grey and Slightly Green


  1. A perfectly timed post for Vicki and I Liz. Thank you so much. :)

  2. Oh my goodness really should do a blog post on the deck chicken one day. She's my absolute favourite! (though Boris looks like he could one day be a contender :)

  3. Happy to help. Yes deck chicken is hilarious, I don't know if she's learning, but she hasn't been up on the deck for a while, maybe she will become a normal chicken in the end...


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