The Free Range Flock

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These hens have been free ranging all winter.  As in they are loose in the barn so can come and go as they choose.  On Tuesday morning they collectively left the barn.  Done.  I don’t know how they decide this, but suddenly they are all done with staying in the barn.  Some went down to the field to visit the cows.  Some wandered up to the house to visit me.  They stay on my paths which are nicely dusted with hay.  We don’t plow the lawn so have to carry all the hay down to the barn, which clearly Hades and his ladies appreciate.

Losses and Gains

Zinc, one of my free-range chickens, roosting in the barn rafters.

Last Tuesday one of the turkey chicks incubated by Dove disappeared.

From a wire cage,

obviously the mesh was too wide.

I moved Dove and her brood into a pen with smaller mesh.

On Wednesday another chick disappeared.

Not a feather in sight.

On Wednesday four of Princess’ chicks disappeared.

Not a feather in sight.

Princess’ chicks were large.

At six pm they were alive and well.

At eight pm head count they were missing.

Yesterday we found a few feathers.

Grrrrrr………..

Dove and her brood are in a new pen with even smaller mesh.

I HATE losses.

Especially unexplained ones.

Again the free range-ability question arises.

Over the years I haven’t lost many birds.

I prefer my birds to be free for many reasons.

I could build a porta-pen.

Am weighing that option.

The truck I saw was similar to this, this photo was taken from Google.

Yesterday I was driving on 95 southbound in Maine, heading back to Massachusetts.

Had a lovely Mother’s Day visit with my Mom.

All of a sudden a flurry of feathers surrounded my car.

A snowstorm of feathers.

An eighteen wheeler was in front of me.

Loaded with small crates.

Packed with chickens.

PACKED.

WITH.

CHICKENS.

70-75 MILES PER HOUR.

They won’t need to de-feather some of those chickens when they reach the packing plant.

My chickens ruin some of my plants.

There are Plants.

Then there are Plants.

How did the one get the name of the other?

A few of my chickens are stolen and eaten by predators.

Predators are a part of nature’s cycle,

the fact that predators are a part of my equation tells me

my farm is probably in a fairly healthy relationship with nature.

I appreciate the position commercial farmers find themselves in.

Trying to make money from a farm.

I can’t even imagine.

My recent losses, and that truck full of chickens,

reminds me of the overall gain, blessing, privilege,

honor, and abundance, my little farm produces.