The chicks have done well in the big house. Our plan is to keep them in the playpen for one more day (or more depending if the weatherman is right) and then we’ll let them out in our yard – supervised, for a few hours at a time.
It’s not that I’m worried they will “escape” from our yard – in the past, whenever we’ve let chicks begin to free range, they’ve always stuck together.
It’s just that I’m still concerned about the falcon (which it turned out is a Peregrine Falcon) that visited our yard the other day. I haven’t seen it since but as the chicks are still nugget size, I’m not going to take any chances.
My other concern is that when we let the chicks loose, as we did the first night when we were transitioning the playpen from the yard to the coop, the chicks were not the easiest to catch. They didn’t know that they were supposed to go into the coop when it got dark. They didn’t know what direction to turn. They didn’t know the rules.
All they knew was that 3 big boys chasing after them looked like trouble and so they ran, hopped, and flew away. I’m sure you’ve either attended or have read stories about greased pig contests, where everyone chases a slippery pig. Well guess what? That’s nothing compared to a chick-roundup. Those little guys can move!
My kids were diving after each chick (often falling in the process) and working up sweats. One kid took some wire crate sides and tried to herd the chicks against the fence so that someone else could catch them. Moderate success there, as he found out it only works if your partner is paying attention. I wish I had had a video recording of the event. It’s one of those things that could very easily be brought at prom dates or even a wedding reception (along with that *adorable* photo of them all sitting in the bathtub.)
All of these mama hen worries, of course means that I need to have more than just me immediately available when the chicks are out. Until they can learn where safety lies, until I am sure that they are safe from that pesky falcon, we’re going to need all hands on deck in case we need to quickly protect our flock of babies.
Wendy Thomas writes about the lessons learned while raising children and chickens in New Hampshire. Contact her at Wendy@SimpleThrift.com
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