I started letting the chickens out of their coop every day starting the end of March when they were still itty bitty and housed in the north annex of the milking barn (what is now officially the chicken brooder room).
The first day I let them out, I was quite nervous. As a completely brand new chicken momma, I was worried that I might lose a few chicks because they wandered off and never returned. I laugh now at my initial worry, because it took a long while before they were courageous enough to venture outside the brooder room door! These first two videos are from March 29th, the first day I ever let them outside.
Fast forward two weeks from these first videos, and not only have the chickens gotten SO MUCH BIGGER, but they are also going outside for their daily treats, an enormous improvement. However, they are still staying extremely close to their brooder room and don’t venture far in search of forage.
The chickens are now housed in the south annex of the milking barn, the high-ceiling space that I showed in a single photo in this post. They go out every day, returning to their coop at night. They are shut up each night with their water, but I keep their food in another storage building, putting it out in the morning when I let them out and putting it away each evening.
These last two videos are great examples of their current foraging. They still stick relatively close to their coop in the south annex, but they do spend hours at a time, outside and away.
This final video is from Thursday of this past week. As you watch, look for the openings that are visible at the bottom of the tin walls of the night barn. The chickens have recently learned how to duck under those walls and go exploring. They love spending time inside the night barn, as it is extremely large and mostly dark and cool, with many dirt floors for the scratching. The night barn also gives them overhead protection from predators while allowing them access to other pastures and grassy areas through various exits.
So look for the spots where they can duck into the night barn and listen for Leopold practicing his crow!
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