Welcome to Skyline Hill Poultry

We are a small poultry farm located in Wayne, Wisconsin, nestled in the rolling hills of the Kettle Moraine. Our chickens free range, spending their day eating bugs and plants, taking dust baths and exploring the hillside. While our chickens are not fed an organic diet nor are vegetarian, their layer feed is provided by a local feed mill located about 10 miles from our farm. Take a look around our site and feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Spring Clean-Out!

I realized recently that I haven’t posted any pictures of the inner-workings of our coop. Granted its no showcase out of Better Homes & Gardens, but it has been functional for our chickens.
Most people who keep chickens get creative about the housing for their birds and even more creative about the inside “furnishings”. On the inside of a coop you need to provide food, water, roosts and nesting boxes (at a minimum). I have pretty limited carpentry skills but a good amount of creativity. To solve the roost issue, instead of building fancy roosts I decided to use old wooden “A” style ladders. I have 3 of them in our coop right now and the hens seem to select their level based on the pecking order, how convenient! The beauty of using ladders as roosts is that they are easy to fold up and remove from the coop when I’m doing a full clean-out. I can hose the ladders down and let them dry in the sun.

 Here are two of the ladders in the coop.  

Here are a few of the hens settling in for the night.  There is a definite "pecking order" and they nearly always sleep on the same step each night.   Roosting is important for the chickens. By their nature they curl their “toes” around the roost to grasp and hold onto their resting spot. Keeping them off of the ground also keeps them off of their manure which in turn keeps them healthier.

Speaking of "off the ground".....

Chickens are excellent at making messes of anything on the ground, so both the feed and water are raised up off of the floor. It keeps their food and water cleaner and generates less waste.
Their nesting boxes are also raised off of the floor (a minimum of 18 inches is recommended). This can help prevent broken eggs, keeps the eggs cleaner and limits the chickens from developing bad egg-eating habits!

This hen seems curious about the camera.  :)

Another look at the coop and the hens eating.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Fall Clean-up

Time to get the coop all ready for winter, which means a complete cleaning!  Since we had nice weather the ladies were out free-ranging which included snacking on garden left-overs and scratching for bugs.  They really enjoyed the pumpkins.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A Foggy April Morning

A damp, foggy April morning doesn't deter the chickens from enjoying the new blades of grass that are growing quickly.  The ground has been continuously wet due to regular rain so far this spring which means muddy chicken feet.

The majority of the chickens spend nearly all day outside as soon as the coop is open in the morning.  So, I make sure to keep a couple of extra sources of water available outside the coop.  Here are a couple of ladies hanging around the "water cooler", probably sharing the latest gossip about where to find the fattest worms. 
With the hens now eating greens again, the yolks of their eggs are changing from yellow to orange.  This is due to their consumption of those tasty leaves and grass.  Afterall, the quality and nutrition content of any animal product is as good as what they consume.  We don't use pesticides or other chemicals on our property, so I know that what the chickens are eating is as safe as I can provide.  Not to mention, there are plenty of bugs and worms that the chickens really love which provide a little boost of protein.    To read more about the nutrition content in free-range eggs, this article in Mother Earth News is a great resource:  Mother Earth News - Egg Nutrition

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Big and Little

Now that all of our hens are laying, we never know exactly what we'll find in the nestboxes.  The hens' ages run between 6 months and 4 years old.  Young hens sometimes lay small eggs and the older ones sometimes lay very large eggs.  Take a look at the big and little eggs we collected this weekend!

Friday, March 11, 2011

The Long Winter Begins to Fade

Its been awhile since my last post.  Things are quiet during the deep winter months and there isn't much to share.  The chickens fared well through the worst of the storms and cold and thankfully rodents weren't a problem.  (I guess our extra work paid off in keeping them out!)

Spring is just around the corner and the snow has begun to melt.  As long as the temperatures are above 20 degrees, I've been opening the coop for the chickens to get out, if nothing else for a change of scenery!

Today, temperatures reached 45 degrees, nearly swimming weather!  :)  About half of the chickens were out enjoying the sunshine and exploring today.  They normally avoid the snow, but when a patch of the white stuff is standing between them and freedom, they'll do what they need to do!

After such a cold and snowy stretch, its a real joy to see the chickens out free ranging again.  Even though much of the grass is brown, there are a few blades of green to nibble on. 

On another note, ALL of the hens are now laying, including the youngest of the flock who hatched last September.  Two of that group turned out to be roosters... and as long as they behave themselves, they can stick around.  Roosters can be quite protective of the hens in their care which can be a real help to a flock that free ranges.

Here's to an ever-warming season!  Cheers!