At Smith Meadows if our chickens are incapable, or at least disinclined, to fly south for the winter, then we will fly them north for the spring. All winter long, we give our chickens exactly what they need, and what they seem to be telling us they want. Food. Shelter. A safe, warm place to maintain their nests. Just like the other animals on our farm, they remain outside all year long. But as the days shorten and long nights prevail, they choose to spend more of their time in their pasture shelters, snoozing the long winter nights away, sometimes sleeping twelve hours a day, recuperating in their coop.
Come spring, as their wild cousins are making their swooping returns across the northern horizon, it’s time for our hens to land on fresh pasture, too. This is when we take a full day or two to transport our free range coops to new locations, setting up the mobile shelters and watering systems just in time for a season of fresh grass and sunshine. As soon as the new buildings have been skidded into place and reassembled, we then “fly” our birds in, moving them about a quarter of a mile in our livestock trailer.
Before they can move we must move their shelter. This video captures the moment we transport our chicken shelters across the creek on our farm.