Sunday, June 1, 2008

Outdoor birds

I got home Friday night, put the finishing touches on the chicken run, made a crude ramp and opened up the door to the outside world. And the chickens came outside for the first time, skidding down the ramp (a little steep, I'm afraid), flapping their wings, cocking their heads and picking their way through their first outdoor adventure.

A couple of surprises here:

- Chickens love to dig, or scratch, and although I don't think they can dig their way free and escape, I did worry that they'd dig a deep enough hole to make it easy for some predator to get into the cage while we're gone. So I ended up lining the bottom of the run -- where the wood meets the soil -- with bricks.

- Chickens really like to eat bugs, worms and anything that crawls.

- Chickens are in motion from morning 'til evening, every moment of it spent obsessively eating stuff they find on the ground, or scratching the dirt up and then investigating what their claws have uncovered.

- Chickens don't like broccoli.

- Chickens never stop talking.

- Chickens like to fly (or try to fly), and they also like to run. For fun.

- At dusk, chickens go in their roost and go to sleep. You don't have to make them - they just do it.

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