A while back, my kids were helping to make signs for carrying in a parade. The theme was based around "I Dream of Jeannie", and we were all making signs that said "I Dream of ......" My son's signs all said "I Dream of Happy Chickens." That says it all right there. Chicken happiness is a big priority in our home.
Over the past week, the chicks were really ready to go outside with the big chickens, and it was becoming clear that our flock needed more room. After hearing my friend, Taryn, talk about their fencing plans so their chickens could free range and eat bugs like nature intended (back in the day, you know, folks didn't have to buy chicken feed), I was getting excited about free ranging. While I would love for our chickens to roam around our property, they have a nasty habit of immediately running over to the garden and digging up all the plants. They also are very fond of tearing up our sheet mulching. The unfortunate reality is that they need containment. With upwards of 30 chickens to contain, we decided the solution was to give them their own poultry pasture. Eventually, they could share this pasture with turkeys and ducks. It will be one big poultry party.
With the configuration of our outbuildings, it was simple to fence across from the neighbor's fence over to our barn. Then we made a very short fence/gate off the back corner of the chicken yard to the back fence, and this enclosed about a quarter-acre of field. My husband built a cute little chicken door and cut a hole in the back of the chicken yard so they could go in and out freely, unless we didn't want them to, in which case we could shut the door. Since we have another chicken door on the coop that we shut every night, we usually end up leaving the new chicken pasture door open all the time.
The chickens all got the hang of their door really fast, and they scattered out into the tall green grass in search of scrumptious morsels. They share their pasture with some wood piles and compost heaps, so it's an all you can eat bug buffet! The chicks were ecstatically running around, quite pleased to get out and scratch around with the big chickens. With all this room to roam, they seem to be getting along really well too.
This year's chicks