I’ve been letting the hens free range all day now, whether or not we are home. My neighbor has graciously offered to check on them occasionally, and I think in general they seem so much happier, especially now that the rains have started and worms and slugs are plentiful, so I’ve decided it’s worth the risk. They seem very smart about heading for cover and hiding in the bushes when necessary, and I’ve tried to make sure that there are no places that a dog could get in. Raccoons can still climb over the fences, but we haven’t seen any in quite some time… fingers crossed!
Last night, when I went to herd them into their coop, Gloria did that funny squat thing that Cleo has been doing ever since she started laying, but I haven’t seen Gloria do it before. Maybe that means that she is getting read to lay as well? Does anyone know why they do that? Is it an instinctual defensive move in case they happened to have eggs or chicks to protect? It’s pretty nice, actually, because we can pet them quite easily when they do it, they just sit there and let us.