Last night, I moved the chickens back into the chicken tractor while they were drowsy. They didn't fuss, and no one scratched me. This morning, I let them out of the chicken tractor into their movable yard enclosed by electrified netting. They walked around a little, and then two, first an Americana and then a Barred Rock, took off from the ground and flew over the netting.
At first, they tried, in a panic, to get back in with their sisters. But the sisters decided that freedom looked like fun, and quickly, five more flew over the fence. While I stood there with, I am sure, my mouth hanging open in shock, the first seven explored the woods. The other two remaining chickens wanted freedom too, and, as I admitted defeat, I let down part of the fence so they could get out and the others could get back in.
There is nothing I can do to catch them in the daylight, and as this happened at 7:30 AM, they have a long day of free-ranging ahead. They will probably return to the pen because it is, after all, where their food and water is located. In the meantime, I imagine my plants will have chicken-pecked holes in them again, and my patio will be covered with chicken poo. I believe a wing-trimming is in the works.
Labels: chicken pens, chicken tractor, chickens, free-range chickens