Just as parents relax with each successive child, so do poultry owners with each successive year.
When the hens were young, we would release them into what had been a fenced in dog area and then we’d obsessively check on them about every 20 minutes.
I’d do a count, 1,2, 3 … to make sure they were all there. Heaven forbid one had flown over the fence! It meant I stopped everything in order to find her and return her to safety. As a writer, it wasn’t the best of all ways to get my work done.
But that was then, and this is now.
Like a newly minted preteen babysitter, in order to test the waters, we started to give the chickens a little bit of freedom with us out of sight.
First one hour, then two. Slowly they earned our trust by never leaving our yard and not getting eaten by our neighborhood cats.
And then came the day when we forgot to check on the flock until dinner time and guess what? They were fine. In fact, they were all alive and as right as rain.
These days, we let our chickens free range in our yard from morning to dusk. Our course we keep the coop door open, in case one of them wants protection or to lay an egg, but they rarely return preferring instead to forage in the leaves and lawn and take dust baths in what was once our garden.
Now, it’s only when *I* need a break from my writing that I’ll get up and make sure no one has strayed to the front yard and that all is well. Between writing breaks, reading on the porch, and meals, I think we’ve got our flock covered.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
Also, join me on Facebook to find out more about the flock (children and chickens) and see some pretty funny chicken jokes, photos of tiny houses, and even a recipe or two.
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