The hens have been free-ranging all day for the last 5 days, since Cleo has started laying, because I was working at home. But today I had to go back into the office, so I left them in their coop. When I came home to let them roam for a bit, I was expecting to find an egg (Cleo had been laying them in the late morning) but alas, there was none. I’m guessing it was because their schedule was thrown off, or maybe Gloria wasn’t giving her any privacy, or maybe it’s because I moved their coop yesterday, or they are just plain peeved about being cooped up…or all of the above? I got them some crushed oyster shell tonight, which they seemed to enjoy, so maybe that will pacify them, and there will be an egg in the morning? It’s such a dilemma: I wish I felt more comfortable leaving them out when we’re gone, I know they’d be much happier, but all the raccoons in our neighborhood scare me, especially after they killed our chick Fluffy. Any advice, fellow chicken keepers? Is the quality of life for them worth the risk? They are bigger now, so maybe they could escape into the bushes or defend themselves from the racoons?
The kittens would probably say “They are lucky they get to run around outside at all! We only get to look at it through the window.”