Supervised Free Range…or Recess!

The bathing beauty--Jolene--taking advantage of a big pile of compost we've just moved into one of the emptied beds.

The bathing beauty–Jolene–taking advantage of a big pile of compost we’ve just moved into one of the emptied beds.

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The three youngest pullets (16 weeks) stick together for safety and company. While they can’t get into the bed with the raspberries or the the last of the summer squash yet, they are finding plenty of snacks and treats.

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Jolene (Rhode Island Red), Marilla (Plymouth Barred Rock) and Hilda (our cranky Buff Orpington) have found a hotspot for bugs and seeds and they are scratching and foraging.

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Hilda is marching off to tell someone what to do. She still tries to boss and bully even in the open range!

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These two were are late winter babies–Jolene and Marilla–we got them as day-olds at the end of February and they are turning out to be very good layers.

Now that much of the summer garden is done producing and we are building up the beds for next year, the hens get to come out of their coop and run more often for what we call “recess” or supervised free range.  There are just too many big scratching feet to allow them to be in the garden all the time!  As the fall and winter progress, however, they will have more and more room to roam and spend more time outside the run.  It is great pest management and they help till in the compost and straw so the beds will be ready for spring planting.  We will keep our overwintering vegetables and plants that are still growing and producing fenced off from their insidious foraging.  We do have to supervise them, however, and keep an eye out for security breaches!

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