Our laying hens get to spend their winter in one of our big greenhouses. They get plenty of sun, stay warm, clean out any weeds, and leave behind good fertilizer for the next season’s tomato crop.
As winter turns to spring, it’s time to move them along: the landlords need plenty of time to get the house ready for the next juicy tomato-tenants. Their summer mobile home pulls up to the greenhouse door and we hope the chickens all just file in for the ride . . . but of course they don’t.
How do you catch almost 200 chickens? It is best to wait until dark. When they’re all settled down to roost, you can just pick them up and put them in their mobile house. Suzanne is the best chicken scooper, regularly picking up four hens at a time; Tim sticks to a more conservative two or three. We drive the chickens out by starlight to the pond, put an electric poultry fence around the house, fill the feeders and water bowls, and head to bed ourselves. In the morning, violà! The chickens wake up to a whole new world of grass, bugs, and dirt to scratch in!