The Garden Feast

garden-free-ranging

I was pulling out the last of the carrots in the garden and decided to let the girls in to free range and snack on all the left overs. Tiny carrots, beet greens, small malformed cucumbers and zucchini and of course, lots of weeds that I just never got the energy to pull. They had a ball!

Of course, like most days, some of the girls had to make the day a challenge. One buff girl sat right by me waiting for me to dig. Before I could pull a carrot out she’d dive in the hole and attack worms, bugs or any other interesting thing she could find. When I tried to stop her before she got to the carrot, she’d grab me by my gardening gloves!

One of the Australorps decided she’d rather be outside the garden gate and took flight! Unfortunately she got stuck in the plum tree she landed in and started squawking so loud, even the neighbors chickens stopped and stared up in the tree! This was the first time I ever saw every hen quiet, stopped and staring all in the same direction! It made me laugh. The silence finally broke when my hubby said….”so….are you going to rescue your chicken or what?”

So the chicken was saved out of the tree, everyone got a great meal and EVERY chicken, except for one, laid an egg the following morning.

It just goes to show you, happy free ranging chickens lay lots of yummy eggs!

You can watch the hens free ranging in the garden on their YouTube Channel:

And fighting for carrots:

 

Finally Free Ranging

free-ranging

The girls have been squawking and pecking at each other so much they sometimes take out their frustration by pecking at us! We decided they need more entertainment in their life to make them happier. After all, happy chickens make better eggs!

I wasn’t sure about letting my girls out of their nice, protected run, but watching how excited they were when they got to bolt out the door was just too much fun! Fat,happy and waddling just looks natural on them!

I couldn’t help myself. I had to follow every move they made to make sure they weren’t getting too far away, weren’t eating anything suspicious and weren’t putting themselves in danger. I eventually gave that up. You can’t keep an eye on 28 different chickens at the same time. I decided to spend my supervising time watching the sky for hawks and standing like a road block to the most dangerous areas I didn’t want them to get into.

I still managed to panic a couple times. The girls found a mushroom and before I could get to them 7 of them tore it apart and swallowed it down! I prayed that night “Dear God, please don’t let me wake up to 7 dead chickens”!  I carefully opened the coop door in the morning and they were alive and well! PHEW!

Another scare we had was the first time we didn’t supervise their free ranging and went inside to eat lunch with my sister. My sister was staring outside the window and ?asked…”what kind of bird is that?” Well…….THAT was a hawk! We all quickly ran outside and luckily it looked like the chickens were smart enough to hide under the bushes!

They are obsessed with plastic plant markers! they pull them out of the ground, run around with them, peck them into small pieces and eat them! I had to walk all over the yard and pull up every plant label. And I still sometimes find a new one pulled up from god knows where!

I also found plants, like periwinkle, they probably shouldn’t be eating that I’m going to have to cut out of the garden. I’ll be praying again tonight on that one! They really know how to tear up gardens. The lovely herb garden around their run that was in full bloom has been chewed down to the nub and the space between the plants have turned into dust bathing sights! Ugh. I decided to cover the plants with pots since their beginning to die back for the fall anyway. I’ll fix it in the winter and put a small deterrent fence around it so they can enjoying eating some, but not all of the plants next year.

All in all, the chickens are happier, they are more entertaining to watch free ranging, and the egg quality has definitely gone up!

You can watch the girls’ excitement being let out to free range on their YouTube Channel: