These guys, the White Rock Cornish X meat birds, have free-ranged too far, making it to the edge of the veggie garden in the big field. Luckily, although it looks good in the photo, this all-lettuce mesclun is done, cut at least twice and now too full of damaged and crowded, stretched leaves to make harvesting for market worthwhile. So, the chickens are actually putting it to good use. But of course, they won’t stop here.
So far, they’ve been completely free to roam during the day. I count and shut ’em in out of harm’s way at night, and pop open the door soon after sunrise. If they found farm life dull, they could hit the road and head to town, just like that. Instead, they tend to wander further from home bit by bit.
I’ve been watching their circle of foraging territory gradually expand away from the chickenhouse. A few advance scouts lead the way, sometimes alone, or in twos or threes. Eventually, over a couple of days, more follow. It’s fun to watch the process, and they seem to appreciate the freedom (since they use it), but it’s still three weeks to Processing Day, and they’ll keep on exploring right into the garden. Time for some fencing action…
(In front, pieces of old hose and water pipe are being sorted out on a clear patch of ground.)