Friday, April 5, 2013

Free Range

Now that we have finally had some significant snow melt I have been able to let the chickens out to free range.  The first free ranging experience was interesting to observe.  I started by just opening the gate and leaving them to their own devices.  No one discovered the open gate or they were choosing to ignore it. Evenually a few hens found their way out but this sent Captain Hook (the dominant rooster) into a tizzy when he realized they were on the other side of the fence. Kenzie went into the run and attempted to shoo everyone out.  For what ever reason they would reach the gate and  run back in the opposite direction.  Kenzie was able to grab Captain Hook and put him outside the gate in the hopes the rest of the flock would follow.  They tried but not being terribly smart they paced up and down the gate trying to get to Captain Hook while he did the same on the outside. Kenzie eventually got a few more out but this is also where it got interesting to watch.  Captain Hook started going up to each hen(he still on the outside of the fence and the hens inside)then he would "talk"to each hen and lead them around to the open gate. With a bit of teamwork between Kenzie and Captain Hook the whole flock made it out into the yard. 
The flock stuck pretty close togther except for the old ladies.  The old ladies are my two original hens and the only two that aren't australorps.  These two were used to roaming the yard together and thats exactly what they did.  This of course upset Captain Hook  who continually sqwaked at them to try to get them to come back to the rest of the flock and they kinda of ignored him.
While Captain Hook was proving himself to be a competent leader of the flock, Joel, our other rooster was proving that he probably should have been born a hen.  Joel is actually prettier then Captain Hook and his plummage is more impressive,  Captain Hook is so named because he has two crooked toes and his plummage is floppier than Joel but other than that he is what I want in a rooster, he is not aggressive towards humans-so far-and he is taking good care of the girls.
As the snow continues to melt and the days get warmer the flock will get to spend more time out in the yard and hopefully learn where the gate is!

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