Friday, 23 September 2011
At fourteen weeks old today my young chickens have finally been let out of the pen and given their free range freedom. We did it yesterday lunch time when the farmer moved the run so that they could 'break out'. They were so delighted to be next to grass (they had been for the first six weeks after they were born - since then on concrete) that for the first half hour or so they stayed in the pen pecking at the grass and not seeming to notice that the pen was open at one end.
When it began to get dark they returned to their own hut, together with their ';mother' Goldie. Today they are roaming the yard and the fields along with the other hens. One of the cockerels has got a magnificent green tail growing and one of the hens is half blue and half orange - but on the whole they all favour their Buff Orpington father - a lovely golden colour.
The four cockerels will only have limited freedom for a few weeks, then - come the cold weather - they will be fastened in to fatten up. It sounds sad but we can't keep five cockerels and when I say 'fastened in' they still have a huge shed and a nice little outside run, so they are not exactly confined.
I have enjoyed having new chickens which I have bred myself - I shall certainly do it again next year and by that time entry to the bottom of the yard should be much easier as the farmer is intending to put in new (lighter) gates - at present they are so heavy that I cannot manage to open them unaided.