Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Free Range Chickens?

Bryon finally convinced me to let the chickens out to peck around the yard this weekend for the first time. I had fully intended to let them free range around when we were home but I wasn't ready to let them go yet. They are still my babies! They are only 8 weeks old! Would you let your 8 week old play around unsupervised in the yard, no I say!

They LOVED it but I was stressed out! I couldn't just leave them alone out there because I didn't know how far they would wander, if they would get hurt or plucked up by a hawk. I just knew they were going to peck their way into the woods and be lost forever! They actually went about 10 feet straight to the giant cedar tree at the end of our driveway. Those chickens were really enjoying themselves but I couldn't hardly enjoy it for them because I was so worried they would never go back to the coop. Bryon left and went to a BBQ, and Mom and Grace and I stayed out and tried to corral the chickens back into the yard for my peace of mind. Let me tell you, chicken's do not corral easily. Finally Mom got the hose out and sprayed them out of the tree and all three of us herded them into the chicken yard and closed the door. I was pretty determined that was going to be their last outing because I was not a happy camper. But, sucker that I am I was convinced again on Sunday to let them out for a while. They were all hovering around the door in the event of just such an outing and eyeing the cedar tree hopefully. I let them out. They pecked around a couple of hours and then went back into the coop to water and I shut the door on them. Monday was a similar story. So they are getting tiny tastes of freedom. I think they are like teenagers though, once they've tasted that freedom they won't be reigned in easily. It's hard letting them go and learn about the world and all it's dangers! I know my day is coming with Grace too, but at least her brain is bigger than a chicken's! You can't say "Here chicky, chicky" and wait for them to come running for a pat on the head or a treat like a puppy or say "Hey little girl, want some candy?" and have Grace come running for a treat. Chicken's just do whatever the lead chicken does and if that one is walking over a cliff, I think they will all do the same! Lemmings you know.

One chicken would find a little tasty morsel of clover or grass and pluck it up and all the rest would flock over to see what she had! They entertained themselves all weekend climbing and bouncing on those low hanging cedar limbs (the limbs go all the way around the bottom and they lay right on the ground). I know they felt safe it there. A cardinal flew in there once and they sort of freaked out but recovered quickly.

Those have been some happy chicken's the past few days, now if Mama can just get happy too, all will be well.

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