• The setting sun over the Flint Hills casts shadows across the wide expanse of tallgrass prairie.

    Tallgrass Prairie

    National Preserve Kansas

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  • Reminder, Bison Are Wild Animals

    Windmill Pasture is home to the bison herd. They have been quite active in recent weeks. Please stay on the trails and use caution in their vicinity. Do not come in close contact with the bison. Allow at least 100 yards between you and the herd. More »

Virtual Tour Scratch Shed

historic scratch shed and chicken house

Historic scratch shed and chicken house photo

The Scratch Shed - "The latest idea in poultry houses is to provide an open shed attached to the roosting room, in order that the fowl may have a place for exercise in the open air during the winter months. If the floor is kept covered with several inches of straw, chaff, leaves, or other light dry material, the whole grain is scattered in this, the fowl will get abundant exercise in scratching for their feed. This keeps them warm as well as busy and they are healthier for it, lay more eggs, and are more fertile."(Barn Plans and Outbuildings, 1881)

The scratch shed was in essence the chicken's gym, void of treadmills, cycles, and barbells. As seen the photo, the original structure had four windows that could be opened for ventilation or closed to keep in the heat during winter months. Over the years, the scratch shed has been converted to a vehicle storage shed. In the historic photo the scratch shed is the structure in the middle and the chicken house is on the far right. An interior doorway connected the two buildings and is still seen today.

 
scratch shed today

View of the scratch shed today. Note its conversion to accommodate vehicles used by the later ranch occupants.

Did You Know?

Collared lizards at Tallgrass Prairie National Preserve

Collared lizards can run on their hind legs with a stride that reaches more than 3 times the length of their bodies.