The chicks are 3 months old today. I am new to raising chickens but so far it has been easy. This morning I had to laugh because what I thought was my first chicken crisis turned out to be a successful rite of passage.
I have been introducing the chicks to free ranging by letting them out each morning to run around the fenced area in front of the barn. They have several hours while I am doing morning barn chores. They love the bugs and especially the area under the big three horse trailer which is low to the ground and gives them protection. I leave the door to the coop open but they have shown no interest in going back inside. When I leave the barn, I have to chase/herd/drive them back into the coop.
This morning I decided to leave them out for a longer period and see how they would do. I wanted to ride and since it is not easy to catch them, it seemed like a good time to try this new approach. Actually I have found that chickens like a routine and adopt their own. I was especially surprised when they chose to roost out in the open area on the handle for rolling the coop at night, and then roosted inside every morning around 10 am when I put them back and left the barn.
To my dismay when I came back to the barn after riding, the chicks were nowhere to be seen. They were not in the fenced area or under the horse trailer. Fighting down panic I checked the small openings around the fence and gate and ran to my neighbor’s yard. I also looked across the street, but there was no sign of them.
Then it hit me. Could they have possibly gone back into their coop willingly on their own? I peeked in the window and there they were, all lined up on their roosting pole. I looked down at my watch and it was just 10 am.