…well, sort of.
We always meant to have these new chickens be free range during the day. The question was – when?
They arrived in July of 2016 and started laying mid-December. Someone suggested they should be laying well before free-ranging so they knew where to go home to. Then came the rains. And more rain. And more rain – even through last week. So, we waited.
We finally decided it was time to give it a try. As with our previous chickens, we started gradually. There is always a trade-off. They are safe in their house and run and it is a pretty nice run.
But we feel the other chickens really enjoy that time out which has grown from just a couple hours at the end of the day to all day, getting put away at night. The trade-off is that they are less safe out in the world. The two chickens we have lost from the old group that were not natural causes were to predators during the daytime. One possibly a raccoon or possum and the other one probably a hawk.
Weighing these options we let them out, putting them away at night. And so it came the day to try a brief outing. With the door open, one Buff is willing to try the grass. And then another sticks her head through the fence, perhaps inspired by her friend.
They venture out further, as far as we are willing to let them go on their first outing.
Then, with the encouragement provided by a little scratch grain, they were back in. Will do longer gradually!