My chickens decided to free range themselves last year. I went along with it until a hawk killed two hens. Then I locked them up tight and refused to let them roam no matter how much they cussed at me.
Then, to make matters worse, one of my chickens started eating eggs. I identified the culprit and jailed her. Now my daily routine includes separating working girls from pen walkers.
Last night Vo, the egg eater, laid a shell-less egg on top of her cage before I had a chance to put her up. This morning I put her out with Mr. Big while De and Buffy remained in the coop to do their duty.
As usual, Mr. Big started to freak out as soon as he finished doing his duty with Vo. Then De and Buffy started squawking up a storm. The ruckus was so savage that Doctor Dolittle called me out of work to make sure no chickens were being consumed by Vermicious Knids.
As soon as I got there the chickens got quiet and tried to convince me that no wild parties were taking place. Nobody here but us chickens.
I collected eggs, evicted the two hens, and started giving the flock fresh water. The day was sunny and warm so I gave the dusty birds a good spray with the hose.
Oh the chickeny annoyance! They ran left. They ran right. They ran back and forth. They got wet the whole time. Once I stopped spraying them Mr. Big took them behind the coop to preen.
When the watering was done I checked on my birds. They gave me the stink eye, but otherwise looked fine. But I felt a little sorry for them and decided to give them a treat.
I opened the gate and called "Chick! Chick! Chick!" and two came running. Mr. Big and Vo waited to see if I was going to spray them before joining the others.
Varmint weapon and hazing poles in hand, I tempted the flock to a nearby stretch of grass and weeds and dirt and bugs and random yummy things. Oh the chickeny joy!
They ranged and scratched and pecked and clucked. They fairly glowed with satisfaction as I watched over them. After thirty minutes Doctor Dolittle helped me haze them back into the coop.
Oh the chickeny afterglow! And they were content for the rest of the day.