September 30, 2012

For The Love Of Bugs And Worms

Looking For Worm
We spent most of the day prepping the beds for fall planting and we kept the chickens in the hen house because we didn't need their 'help' un-planting plants and digging up seeds we'd just sewn. They were going to get to do some supervised free-ranging after we finished. While working we came across lots of worms, crickets and other luscious bugs. I felt guilty for not letting them help so I got a pail and filled it with a little dirt and all the bugs, worms, etc., we found.

Teddy Trying To Help
As we finished the work the rain moved in and the plans for free-ranging disappeared with the sun. So what to do in place of letting six chickens free-range? Hmm. They were all lined up at the door ready to come out regardless of the pouring rain. What they don't quite understand yet is the need for our supervision. So, I dug up a little more dirt from the beds and added it to the pail of goodies. Maybe about three gallons of dirt filled with goodies. I poured half at each end of the run. It took a minute or so but they finally caught on. They flattened the piles of dirt in no time…scratching and pecking to their little hearts' desire. This was a bit different for them because inside in the run is packed dirt and hay on top, when they go out to free-range it's all grass. So being able to get right to the dirt and bugs while inside was fun. I don't know if it made up for not getting to free-range outside but they were entertained and safe. 'Safe' being the operative word.

Heading Out To Explore
Ours live in a fully enclosed run and coop but they do get out for supervised free-ranging. I would give anything to be able to let them out of the coop at sunrise to run, willy-nilly, everywhere till sundown! Unless we get a completely enclosed backyard, including overhead to prevent air strikes from hawks, that will never happen. Their enclosed area is big enough for them to hang out in when they can't come out…but I keep thinking of chickens who get the run of a huge area, a pasture, or wooded area on a daily basis. Are ours suffering any negative affects from not running free everyday? Do they even know what they're missing??? Aaack!  The cliched-to-death apology 'it's for your own good' gets me nothing but grumbling and throaty honking.

The Grass Is Greener On BOTH Sides Of The Fence

 Every small flock owner has different styles of management. Some urban and suburban keepers have full-time confinement with the enclosed area for the chickens meeting the space recommendation for the number and breeds of chickens. The chickens are usually very pampered - getting lots of healthy treats and attention from their owners. They're also much safer from predators. More importantly, whether fully enclosed or fully free-ranged, these chickens know they are cared for and cared about!!


  1. Would love to have a little flock like yours, but I am afraid it would draw the fox and coyotes.

  2. We don't have to worry much about predators like those in the city (yet) thank goodness. Our hen house is completely enclosed - run and coop - to protect from dogs, raccoons and hawks. When they free-range we are with them. There are a lot of coop plans that are designed for more dangerous and aggressive predators. If your interested in some of the links I can post them!

  3. Hi Liz! Thanks for following my blog at Community Chickens online and congratulations on your new hobby and blog!

    I would love to have you link up with my Clever Chicks Blog Hop this week!

    I hope to see you there!
    The Chicken Chick

    1. Thanks Kathy! I have really enjoyed following YOUR blog! We have been doing as much as possible towards sustainable living for a long time, but the chicken-keeping is new. We got our first chicks last spring. Ours are sweet, amazing and challenging (and already spoiled rotten)! We are trying to encourage others to become chicken-keepers or at least get educated in the difference between eggs that come from one's backyard flock, or farmers market or grocery store.
      I realize I'm getting back with you a bit late for this week (just getting over a virus) but I would love to link up with the Blog Hop...just tell me what I need to do. Was there a particular post you wanted me to share?


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