Chickens in the Woods

Monday, December 30, 2013

Christmas Holidays 315I mentioned that we both had several projects going at once. Bud was working on putting in the backer board and insulation in the bathroom. On this day, he started tearing down the wall between the bedroom and the pantry room. The ‘pantry room’ is the smallest room with shelving at one end. In later years, the lady used it to store things as one would in a pantry, but when we talked to her daughters the day they came over, they said during their childhood it had actually been a bedroom.

We are removing the wall to make the bedroom bigger, but mostly, to add a closet. There is almost no storage space in the house as it is (except in the attic, which will become a loft bedroom.) As Bud took off the boards, he found lots of mud dobber nests, and what appears to be a mouse nest.

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When we came back around Thanksgiving, we found that a box of Kleenex and also some rolls of toilet paper had been chewed into. I guess T.P. makes an awfully soft bed! The funny thing is that we have never seen a live mouse, though we have heard what we believe to be mice crawling in the walls at night. I guess this proves that we are not going crazy!

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By this time, the chickens had started increasing their foraging range and had started to venture into the woods. The floor of the woods were covered in leaves, and they had a ball scratching in them hunting for bugs and other vermin.

I guess I should talk about predators. I’ve thought long and hard about it, and I’ve chosen to let them free range unsupervised. I’m not too worried about hawks, because there is so much cover for them in the way of woods. When we have seen hawks, the chickens have all sounded the alarm and have run for cover. As far as ground predators, we haven’t seen any. It’s probably because we are close to the road. I know that doesn’t mean that there are NOT any predators, but those woods are so thick that the hens could shimmy in through branches that daytime predators could not.

Christmas Holidays 306Night and twilight is a different story. We lock them up at night, and have secured our temporary hen house as best we can until we can build them a new one.

I’ve had to make a choice, and I would rather allow them to free-range, than to be stuck in a run. That is not knocking anyone who keeps their hens in a run. It’s just that everyone has to make a choice, and this is mine.

They had a ball out there!

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Later in the afternoon, R’s son stopped by. He was on the way to the Feed Store in Jasper, and stopped by to see if we needed anything. He left his truck running, and seemed to be in a hurry. Though we didn’t have coffee, or sit in the rocking chairs (he doesn’t seem like a rocking chair kinda guy), we did have a nice chat. We showed him our progress on the house, and he seemed impressed. He didn’t stay long, and we continued to work.

I fixed hamburgers for supper, and we turned in early that night.

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6 thoughts on “Chickens in the Woods

  1. I let mine free range and then when I lose one I get nervous and keep them shut in their run again…..it’s some sort of cycle that works for us. I love to see the hens out and about, there is something so amusing about them exploring and scratching. Mine were out in the snow today and I should have taken a picture of their funny tracks.
    Pictures are beautiful! I would imagine that TP would make a nice soft mouse nest. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  2. I like that you are allowing the chickens to roam, but can understand your concern for their safety. I guess Simba isn’t a mouse chaser. They were really busy building that nest!

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    1. There was an incident (which I will blog about in the future) and I think he might be ‘thinking’ about becoming a mouser! ๐Ÿ˜‰

      Letting the chickens roam is so much healthier, not only for them, but it also passes more nutrition into the egg when they are living in an environment they were meant to live in and eating what God intended.

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