Huddle Up for Safety! Huddle Up!

Jul 20, 2012 | 0 comments

Yesterday was a red letter day in the Oysterville chicken world.  Farmer Nyel opened the door of the pen and introduced his flock to the big garden world beyond.

At first, they weren’t much interested.  They continued their preening and pecking, ignoring the invitation to break loose from their chicken-wire confines.  But, eventually, curiosity overcame them and they ventured forth.

The two roosters were the bravest but, even so, they stuck together.  The girls followed close behind.  They explored the area under the rhodies along the east fence and then took a good look at the daisies in the center bed nearby.

For awhile, they kept that open door to food, water, and familiar territory well within their sight.  Gradually, though, they wandered farther, but never more than fifteen or twenty yards away from home and safety.

Farmer Nyel gave them a couple of hours of freedom and was much relieved when they followed him back inside without so much as a cluck of protest.  I, too, breathed a silent sigh, as I had been the one who was insistent that they begin getting used to the free part of ‘free range.’ After all, this little flock first saw the light of day on April 4th.  Almost four months old!

I worried that Farmer Nyel was being overly protective.  He has definitely dragged his feet about letting them outside the safety of their reinforced pen.  Understandably, he is still mourning the loss of our last five girls, gone with hardly a trace last November.  We are pretty sure it was the work of Rocky Raccoon and his Ruthless Raiders but, even though that massacre happened inside the coop and the coop has been well reinforced, Nyel has been understandably cautious.

I do have my own selfish reason for wanting them out in the big world.  The weeds are calling rather loudly these days and I’m much more likely to go forth and have at them if the chickens are clucking and crowing nearby.  I think of them as my Chicken Cheerleaders.  I actually made quite a bit of progress yesterday!

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