We moved the chicken coop and the run for the first time since we got our little flock. That was more of an ordeal than I had expected. We kept the chickens in the run and moved the coop first. John built it up on tractors, so it is fairly easy to move. Then, we decided to move the run with the chickens in it. They are a wild bunch and very hard to catch, so I haven’t been brave enough to let them have free range yet. I’d like to work to that point though, especially after this experience.
We start moving the run a smidgen at a time, but the chickens were startled into fits. It was almost like they turned into a bunch of possums playing dead. They wouldn’t move along with us. Then, Bobby Lou got her legs hung under the bottom edge of the run, (Don’t worry she wasn’t injured.) and it was all over from there. Bill Henry then went into protection mode and it was total chaos. I thought chickens were supposed to “shoo”, not freeze.
We finally got them to some fresh grass, shade, and a cleaner area. I’d like to think that someday I could turn them out and they would come back to the coop to lay eggs and roost on their own. However, where we are predators are a real possibility. We have skunks, raccoons, possums, foxes, black bears, and big snakes. I’d like to protect our assets from danger. Also, they are a very skiddish flock. I have developed a reasonable relationship with them in that it doesn’t work them up when I come around, because I’m the one cleaning up after them, feeding and watering them, collecting eggs, and giving them treats. Yet, they’d never let me pet them or pick them up without a wrangling. They are spooked by John really bad. I don’t trust that letting them free range is the best thing – at least not right now. I have to have a little more faith in them first.
I believe they are happy chickens with the coop and run. I make sure they have plenty of grass to scratch and graze on. They love clover. Plus, we bought them to save money on eggs. Replacing members of the flock wouldn’t be a cheap thing if predator attacks were a frequent. These girls were $10 each and our roosters were $5.
Managing a sustainable way of life is really a job. I can completely see how that was what consumed the lives of our ancestors day to day. Work outside of the home often wouldn’t have been possible with growing an organic garden, tending animals, and maintaining structures on the property. Our recent incidents of potato bugs, maggots in the compost, and moving the coop have been big work. But, it’s meaningful work and work I enjoy. It is work that makes me proud.