Chickens are fun.
It's interesting to see how they relate to each other and watching them grow from baby chicks to full-grown, egg-laying hens. Roosters are another story. Seeing their battles to determine who gets to be head rooster is something to behold. I sure am glad I'm not a chicken.
I built a coop from pallets, then two years later, I finally put up a fence around the coop to keep chickens out of the garden during the summertime. After the harvest is over, I open the gate and they're free to roam. They seem like happy chickens-- they forage in the yard and the garden, they come to the back door looking for handouts, they lay eggs.
Chickens in the yard please me. No more bare feet, but that's alright, I think it's a fair trade-off.
The problem with free-ranging chickens is that to find the eggs, it's a full-on Easter egg hunt, but without the bright colors to tip you off! Ever try to look for brown eggs nestled among brown dirt and leaves? Not easy.
The girls hit pay-dirt while out playing in the snow today. Ten eggs hidden by the woodpile! A good cleaning and they're good to go. The temperatures outdoors where we are have been a steady 40, so I'm not worried about these eggs being rotten, but nevertheless, I will inspect each egg as I crack them into a separate bowl before using them in any meals.
I'm sure there are more piles of eggs hidden somewhere, but haven't found them yet. Sure am looking forward to gardening season and I'll have a reason to pen the chickens in again.