Sunday, November 7, 2010

Lessons in Leverage


The art of raising pastured poultry requires frequent moving. Once each flock of chickens has spent a few days in one location, with their two roosting tractors and one nesting tractor as the center of their world and a ring of electric netting defining its perimeter, they've had enough time to scratch and peck through almost every inch of their territory, gleaning nutritious bugs as they go and depositing precious fertilizer. Then it's time for fresh ground.

Moving the roosting tractors and nesting tractor used to be a frustrating and daunting activity requiring two people, back when we were using flimsy little warehouse-style dollies. Now that CJ has custom-welded these fancy new special dollies (in red) with a five-foot wheelbase and curved spot where the base of the pen sits snug, he is able to move them by himself, realizing a major goal in hen husbandry.


  1. Great video! Jen should probably stick to filming and leave the writing to CJ...

  2. well that's not very nice. i thought jen did a wonderful job with that post! who is this, anyway?

  3. Sorry! I didn't intend to be rude. I stumbled on your blog a few weeks back - I'm a fellow raiser of "pastured poultry" (though I usually just call myself a chicken farmer...or egg lady) in Wisconsin and am interested in what you're up to down in Tennessee. I just thought that "gleaning nutritious bugs and depositing precious fertilizer" was a silly way of saying "eating and shitting". I must have just been feeling a bit burnt out from an afternoon/evening of trying to wire what seems like a thousand space heaters in my barn. After 8 hours of getting shocked, scratched, and shit on it's pretty funny to read the person who merely holds the camera describing what I do as an "art". I see the beauty and creativity in it, certainly, but it's work. Labor. I meant no offense - I realy love your blog, primarily because it triggers so much reflection.

  4. Oh, hi there Jill. We were just wondering, as we have a friend named Jill, and it didn't seem that you were her! Thanks for reading! And, indeed, I know how you feel, but remember that Socrates said that farming is nurse and handmaiden of all the arts, even if the beauty is often covered with shit, and the labor leaves our bodies aching with pleasure. Turning toil into work, and work into play!

  5. Exactly. I came for the chickens, and stayed for the fun philosophical quips.

    Congratulations on your grant - I'm jealous! Looks like a great opportunity.