Update: the chickens are doing well.
Okay, so yes, the chickens are growing, clucking, pooping, and exploring. They're getting to explore because we (mainly Chris) spent a good bit of time and effort working with Cooper to get her to realize these things were part of the family, not prey.
|It appears to have worked
|Just hanging out.
We're keeping a very close eye on their interactions, but so far so good.
They're not always out free ranging though. If we're not home they're confined to their pasture. Not because of predators - the fence isn't high enough or tough enough to keep anything determined out - nope, it's because if left out on their own they inevitably end up on my porch. And they poop. A lot. No one ever seems to mention that in all those cute chicken Pinterest photos.
But they are out quite a lot and my feed bill has dropped dramatically now that they are foraging. They still have free access to store-bought food for all it's nutritional completeness, but they simply don't eat as much of it. After all, they're getting grasshoppers, moths, crawling bugs and anything green that seems even remotely edible.
They quickly found the nice grass and garden area (after all, it's right near the porch). I've been very pleased with their behavior in the garden. The plants are established so they're not uprooting them when they scratch and they're eating the bugs and weeds around them.
The new coop is finally done and I'll post pictures of that soon. Really looking forward to working on something other than chicken coops! And also really looking forward to that first egg. Should be late September - woo hoo!
|Why are they in a barren area instead of working the garden? Because, chickens.
|Let us out!
|Bugs galore at the edge of the wood
|The cat is not impressed
|The driveway: a source of grit, cherries, and bugs
|Grazing on the lawn