These girls of ours are starting to get a heck of a lot more adventurous during their free range time. We let them out each evening for a minimum of an hour or two and longer on the weekends. Invariably, I often peak out the window and catch them up to something they shouldn't be doing.
Like ending up on the wrong side of the garden fence or sometimes ON the garden fence. It seems to happen by accident as they usually look baffled about how they got separated from their buddies.
Sometimes they journey up onto the deck and peek in the window. Fanny doesn't know what to make of their visits.
Camilla is the worst offender when it comes to exploring and perching in places we would rather her not be. This quality also makes her our most charming and endearing flock member.
Nellie is our stable and steady bird. She isn't too skittish or too brave. She isn't too aggressive or too shy. She just does her thing.
Petunia has become cleverly evasive. She is nearly impossible to catch unless you team up with someone else and corner her somewhere. I am not sure why she is so fearful of being touched. She will come close to be fed and hangs out with the other ladies as they come and go from the run. She just avoids all physical contact with us. I am hoping her charm will be her blue/green eggs. But, as of yet, no eggs!
They very much enjoyed some of the leftovers I shared with them from the softball BBQ, including this bread. As a result of the party, they also lost their innocence. More specifically, they were fed some chicken leftovers. Paul made pulled chicken from whole chickens for the BBQ and had leftover carcasses. I hemmed and hawed before letting him feed them the carcass. For the record, they seemed to have no moral qualms about it.
Do you know what the birds aren't doing? Keeping the yard free of other wildlife like the plethora of bunnies that have found the weak parts of our garden fence and are wreaking major havoc on our garden this year.
Or the squirrels who have pulled down every single apple from our 2 apples trees only to eat a bite or two and drop them into the yard. Come to think of it, I wonder if the squirrels and chickens are in cahoots on that one since it is usually the chickens who eat the dropped apples!
I learned the hard way about letting the chickens free range at dusk. They end up places they should not be. Like on top of the run, from which they could very easily hop over the fence into the alley.
The problem is as the light shifts, this starts happening earlier and earlier each night. I have to be paying close attention to the onset of dusk or I come out to this scene.
I think they have an easier time getting on top of the run now that we installed our raised bed at the end of the run. On the day I put it into place and filled it with dirt it was hot and humid out. The chickens took the opportunity to nap in the cool soil while I ran to the garden center for my bags of dirt. I didn't have the heart to kick them out so I held off on filling it up until they were done napping.
Now that they are almost fully grown, the feathers that they shed are pretty substantial. I have started a little collection in this jar just inside the back door. I am not sure what I will do with it but at this point it pleases me to just have them hanging out there.
Their patterns and colors are very worthy of admiration.
For now, they are backyard pets but very soon we should have eggs. I hope my next update will include egg pictures!