Don't do it, they said. Predators will go on a rampage, they advised. You don't know how to take care of them, they admonished.
And hey. They may all be right.
But so far, so good!
All snarkiness aside, we're into about week three of the Great Chicken Experiment. Margaret purchased four Buff Orpingtons (the tan ones) and four Black Stars (the dark ones), all hens. They're supposed to be good layers, and docile.
Our favorite so far is a Black Star with a light brown head. She's amazing. Endlessly curious, always coming up to us. Following us around the yard on our daily list of jobs: gardens, mulching, edging, and on and on. She even has come up to Skillet to check her out. We call her Rock Star.
So how are we keeping them safe? We have a nice cozy coop for them with a 9 foot fully enclosed yard. Egg boxes and door have good, heavy duty latches fr closing up at night. We decided to make this enclosure tough to get into by running hardware cloth along the ground, stapled to the enclosure frame and held down in place with heavy duty landscaping staples. It's all covered with mulch and straw, and should prevent diggers. I hope.
The door opens during the day, and the chickens can free range in the yard . And see that weird thing on the fence, to the right of the coop, that looks like the seat and lid of a toilet bowl? Well, that's another crazy idea. It's a latched door I made out of plywood that allows entry into the space in between the inner and outer fences of the yard. This constitutes a 4' wide space along the entire perimeter, something like 250 feet so far! So these chickens got room to RUN, baby.
So like I said, so far so good! The chickens are really comical and fun to watch, as we were warned. A good replacement for TV, is one is so inclined. So far their favorite treats are RED fruits, like berries.