After the fox attacks, the coop confinement and the introduction of the 6 new girls, the flock has finally settled back down into the normal routine of bug chasing and dust bathing. The six new girls had no trouble integrating into the coop after dark a few weeks ago and a steady pecking order has appeared. No one is being abused , but you can definitely tell where which bird is on the line.
I have been keeping an eye out for the golf ball size eggs that will let me know the new girls have started laying and last night when I fed them their table scraps, I noticed two little while eggs in with the larger brown ones. So, at least two of the new girls have gotten on board with the program. I still do a double take when I glance in the direction of the flock - seeing those two white birds is something new. All of my other chickens have always been brown.
I have recently decided to let the flock back out into the yard via the portable fencing. To alleviate any lingering safety concerns, I am using sections of straight panel fence to make a smaller square area for the girls to access fresh grass. These are much more sturdy than the green metal roll for fencing and it is a smaller area so I am able to spread netting over the top to create a "roof". This deters flying attempts and, so far, has kept anything from coming in. The girls are very happy to have their grazing ground restored.
It is already August and the summer has gone by too quickly. It has dipped into the low 50's here some nights and fall is coming.... I do love fall, but I also like spending what spare moments I can steal in a lawn chair by the chickens. They are in their own little world and I feel like I am watching something from inside of a snow globe. They go about their limited business of preening and pecking, they find a sunny spot and flap their wings around in the dirt, or they just purposefully wander through the enclosure, slowly and methodically, their eyes darting back and forth in the search for an unfortunate bug.
Yesterday I was watching them and thinking about how wonderful it is going to be when the garden is done and I can heard them over to the beds and let them have at it. All those sharp chicken toes working the plant matter and compost into the earth, and all that free fertilizer being deposited. Sometimes in the middle of a January snowstorm, when I am trudging through the snow to retrieve frozen solid water fonts from the coop, I think about how nice it would be to have no responsibilities that made me leave the warmth of my wood burning stove. That feeling lasts about 2 minutes, and then I am inside the coop and out of the blizzard. It is warm with the deep bedding and I have all those pairs of eyes looking to me for stale bread scraps. Eggs, entertainment, compost and free garden tilling.
Chickens are a wise investment.