April 18, 2010

Chickens go for a Walk

For the past year, the chickens have been confined to their coop and run. They have plenty of room and their are some interesting features; but exploring the rock again has to get boring even for a chicken. So last weekend we decided to let them out - they are truly 'free range' now.

They wandered, pecking and scratching, up to the path between the driveway and garden. They spent a good hour making their way down the path - tearing up the foot of the hillside as they went looking for bugs. The next hour or so was spent in the garden hunting earthworms. Then back up and down the path to get any of the bugs that were missed the first time. It had been about three hours at this point. They had made a good dent in the backyard bug population. And they were just hitting their stride.

Next they went up to and around the house. I came out to visit them in the front yard. As they headed down the driveway I started to get nervous that they may just keep going to the road. Between a big-old-truck going 40 and a chicken, I'd place my money on the truck; so, I scooted around and encouraged them toward the barn, which they bypassed and went out the orchard. Good place for them.

After another couple hours de-bugging the orchard, they headed back towards the barn, but not to the run/coop. At this point, Jeremy decided to be the 'chicken whisperer' and entice them into the run by leaving a trail of bread crumbs - litterally - to the gate. All in all, a succesful adventure. Will have to try it again sometime. Test out the 'come home to roost' theory.

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