The Chick-Mobile

If talk of animal husbandry and land regeneration doesn’t make your pulse race, skip on to the bottom for a cool video. Otherwise read on!

Life did indeed teem during corona lockdown. Our modest flock of chickens and turkeys took “sheltering in place” in a romantic direction, procreating like mad, and now we have hundreds of birds.

Can you spot the poult?

Some chicks and poults (turkey babies) hatched under their mommies, the old-fashioned way, but most of these corona babies were incubated as eggs, raised for a few weeks in the hatchery (a makeshift box that we kept in the machsan of our rental), and then released to the “tinokia,” a fenced-off area of the olive grove.

fun times in the tinokia

The tinokia was meant to protect the chicks from predators and getting lost in the huge grove, but it didn’t serve the overall purpose of our farm. We’re trying to have the animals serve the land, and have the land serve the animals: the birds (and eventually goats, sheep, and hopefully a cow or two, maybe even a horse?) are meant to forage for their food, and in turn their droppings keep the land naturally fertilized and tamed (from weeds and overgrowth).

So what Ira is fashioning is a “maze” of sorts, organized by the rows of olive trees. Turkeys in one aisle, chickens in another, babies in a third, maybe one day goats in a fourth, with a rotation of land that each is exposed to and rotation between the aisles as well. This means that each day, the animals get fresh pasture to forage and poop on, and no one piece of land gets mauled to exhaustion.

As for the babies, they need more protection from swooping predators and easier access to water and supplemental feed, so Ira fashioned a conestoga wagon for them that we call the Chick Mobile (I nixed “chick-magnet”). He’s moved the chicks from their old tinokia to their new digs. Here’s the chick mobile in action. Shabbat Shalom!

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