"Home, home on the range, where the ducks and the chickens roam free..."
So I decided Friday to try out free ranging the chickens. I was out working on putting gravel around the edge of the coop so I figured I could keep an eye on them. I opened the door and at first no one came out. Finally one curious chicken came and peeked out. She turned around though and ran back under the henhouse. Soon she was back though looking outside again. After doing this several times she finally made the plunge and ran outside. That's all it took to open the floodgates and before I knew it they were 23 chickens roaming about the yard.
They were so happy to have room to roam about! The "chicken Hilton" is pretty roomy. They are by no means crammed in there. But it's different to be out in new pastures where you can find insects and new kinds of plants to eat, flap your wings, run about gleefully chasing your sisters, and just generally enjoy the taste of freedom.
Since this was the first time I had let them out of the run I simply had to keep my fingers crossed that they would follow their instincts and return to the henhouse in the evening. I was hoping and praying that they would cooperate because if they didn't, my husband was out of town so it would be just me chasing 23 chickens. Luckily they did as mother nature tells them to, and when I went out there at 8:45 every last little chicken was perched in the henhouse ready for bed.
Since they were so cooperative, I decided to let them out again yesterday and this morning. Now we just have to keep praying that they won't become prey to some predator while they roam about!