Our chickens have been exploring the world outside their run in the last month. I was so nervous about it at first because I wasn't sure how far they would range and how difficult it would be to get them back into the run. We have neighbors (and no fences), not to mention animal predators so at this point we aren't comfortable letting them go entirely free range. In the beginning it was quite an ordeal to either catch or herd all the chickens back into the coop, but they seem to be figuring things out these days. They are staying out longer and longer and I don't feel the need to hover over them constantly like I did the first few times (yep, first time chicken mom). We have two trees very close to the coop that they love to hide under, scratching through the dense leaf layer and hunting for bugs (yes, eat the bugs! eat the ticks!). They don't seem to venture out too far, which is good since my vegetable garden on the other side of the yard doesn't have the gate up yet. I love knowing that all of their time foraging means healthier yummier eggs for us in the near future. Of course they are fun to watch and I like having happy chickens, so there are other great reasons to let those chickens roam.
This is Bob. Yes, I think it is funny to give the hens typically male names.
This photo is about a month old and our chickens are so much bigger than this. I think it is time for another photo op with the hens.
Lucy loved "The Chicky Book" by Ashley English (Homemade Living: Keeping Chickens). It is a great guide for anyone who is new to caring for chickens, and Lucy really enjoys all the photos throughout the book (I would guess the rest of her homemade living series is equally beautiful and helpful). It was nice to have a reference in the beginning, though we seem to be settling in with our chickens and I was able to relinquish this book back into the library's care. If I ever have questions there is always the internet (and yes, I have looked up photos of chicken poo to make sure my hens are healthy and normal--chicken poo pics).