Part of the equation of deciding to let the chickens roam free occasionally is their new set-up. Previously, they lived in a smallish enclosure (4′x6′) which was moved to a new patch of grass every day. Now, their tractor has been sort of plugged into a big chain link dog kennel, which my neighbor/landlord no longer has a use for.
This affords them much more room to wander around clucking. The kennel part is 6′x12′ and it’s attached to the 4′x6′ tractor, so that’s 96 square feet, or 32 square feet per chicken in the run. (Most sources recommend 10 square feet of run space per chicken.)
But what they gain in run space, they lose in greens and bugs. After they had scratched up everything inside the run (i.e. two days), they mostly stood around looking bored and making sad noises.
And for all the benefits, this new set-up is quite lacking in the looks department.
The chain link dog run contraption looks bad enough in my front yard. But I think you’ll agree, the “Big Top Circus Tarp” adds a whole new level of yokel. Oh well… it will do for the moment, and it keeps the chickens dry.
They can only be out for a few hours at a time, a few times a week. And I have already had to shoo them back inside to protect them from a threatening owl. At 2PM! What kind of insomniac owl is up prowling people’s chickens at 2 in the afternoon?
In other news: he may be an old man, but he can still play a wicked round of Hide and Seek.