The Chickens Get A Day Out

The chickens got out today. The wind blew open the coop door while I was collecting the eggs. They are outside every day, but in their big fenced area that we have covered with snow fencing. We do, occasionally, let them free range for an hour or so before bed when we are out there. They don't go far and come back inside the coop as soon as it starts to get dark.

This is the picture I usually get when the chickens are out and I come outside. They stand around on my feet begging for treats and attention. They are quite spoiled!

Today they got out in the morning and went exploring.

I quickly fenced off my ripening Queen Anne's Pocket Melon and cilantro seeds. 

I wandered around with them for awhile, doing some light garden chores. I saw Rocky the rooster start to eat a sweet william I grew from seed. He called the hens over and they ate some of it too. I was getting worried when they left it and moved along to something else. 

They came to the new Russian sage. I was prepared to rescue it but they just ignored it and kept going. I hoped they wouldn't notice the 'Intense purple' amaranth ripening nearby. They didn't pay any attention to it, thank goodness!

They took a few bites out of the new aster I got in a trade. It has just now begun to bloom and is the most beautiful and bright shade of pink. They were soon bored with that. They tasted the snowball hydrangea and liked it but didn't eat much.

Since they sort of loosely follow me around (just like a dog does), I took them to the nasturtiums where they could have a good snack and not cause any real damage. They liked the nasturtiums!

I started to pick the ground cherries nearby drawing the attention and curiosity of the girls. They came around, cooing and chatting with me and asking me what I was doing.I had a small pile on the ground but thought it prudent to rescue them before the chickens discovered how good they are to eat!

I put them all in my shirt bottom. Looks like a good bit for the few plants we have.

With the chickens outside for awhile and beautiful weather, I decided to take this opportunity to shovel out the chicken house. Using shredded computer paper with the deep litter method like we do, it only gets emptied every few months. The wood based litter absorbes the nitrogen as it decomposes and they compost together in the chicken house so there is no ammonia smell. That waterer is empty. It leaks but I just haven't removed it yet.

Here it is all cleaned out with fresh new shredded paper.

I put it all on my new lasagna garden to be raked out evenly on another day. I was going to make this lasagna garden quite a bit larger but have decided to make two separate ones about this size instead. The other one is behind the chicken house.

We both had to work a few hours in the city during the afternoon, so we put the girls back into their safe fenced area. We lured them in with bread crumbs. They are so easy to manipulate and so sweet too!