Sunday, April 5, 2015

Free Range Easter Egg hunt

Free range and pasturing chickens has a number of advantages: they get access to as many fresh greens and as much protein as they want to eat.  They get plenty of fresh air and exercise.  If appropriately protected from predators, they have less stress than confined birds.
All that, of course, is on the plus side of the ledger.  On the other side is if not taught when they are babies to return to the chicken tractor at the end of the day, one could end up with chickens just about anywhere.  I've heard stories of chickens under the house, in with the dog, up in the hayloft, perched in the trees, and wandering down to the neighbors.  Fortunately our girls have all been taught to be home bodies.  One call from the 'bucket lady' and all come running.  The other challenge is that sometimes we find their eggs in the nestbox, but most times our afternoon is spent on a magical Easter egg hunt as we search the tractor, the yard, and then the pasture for those little pinkish/brown gems.
 Bucky continues to grow and put on weight.  He's now a beefy looking boy.  He and his brother Rudy keep watch over the girls.  Anytime something approaches, they place themselves between the threat and their hens.  If the menace continues moving toward the ladies, the roosters stomp their feet and toss their neck feathers left and right (puffing up to look much larger and more threatening).
Meanwhile, Party Boy has also matured and affectionately looks after his flock.  Some of the girls are beginning to brood.  What we may do is, after the weather warms, allow them to attempt to hatch some chicks.  It will be a new experience for everyone.

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