We’ve started to let the chickens roam the full yard when we’re home. They’re slowly getting more courageous, wandering farther and farther from their coop. This is a good thing, since it was getting a little unpleasant having their poop concentrate in a few square feet in front of their coop door. The white ones are especially brave, and have even taken to running up to us when we walk out, probably wanting cracked corn. Cracked corn is well named, we’ve decided, not because of its manufacturing process, but because of the clear signs of addiction the hens now demonstrate.
We’ve tried introducing Bucky to the chickens more and more each day, too. He doesn’t immediately charge them now, and we consider this a sign of progress. After a few minutes of watching them, though, it’s more than he can handle and he just has to give a little chase. We’re working on it.
There are a few other drawbacks to letting the chickens roam. Once they start laying in a few weeks, we’ll probably have to make some changes so we’re not hunting for eggs across the whole yard every morning. And, though they all stay relatively close and grouped, once in a while the final count when we close them up for the night is off. Then, we have to sweep the grove and pasture, hoping a hawk or fox didn’t grab one, or that we forgot to watch Bucky very carefully. Tonight, after a sweep, we found one perched in the rafters of the center of the coop and had to chase her down with a pitchfork. Luckily, most seem content with the perches we’ve provide, and we don’t have to conduct search and rescues too often.