Chickens through the seasons

Chickens exiting coop in light snow

We had our first dusting of snow overnight and when the chickens exited the coop this morning, it was along a snowy runway. I wasn’t thrilled to find snow on the ground on October 30th, but our Americaunas didn’t seem to mind.

Chickens eating cracked corn

They quickly congregated at what has become their ‘eating rock’ out in the yard, one of their many favourite spots since being granted their freedom to roam freely earlier this year. Another favoured spot is under a lone apple tree on the other side of the house.

Chickens foraging under an apple tree

Earlier this summer I photographed some of them foraging in the yard next to the coop and their old run. We finally dismantled the old enclosure altogether just a couple of weeks ago.

Chickens roaming in the yard

They had a ball rooting around for insects and other goodies after the fencing and posts had been torn out of the ground. PetKid helped me to plant a dogwood tree in their yard, which we hope will make the space of their former enclosure a really lovely spot over time.

Boy watering dogwood tree

If you have time, PetKid finally recovered the mini yacht that he lost in a stream on our property in the spring. It was an exciting find.

14 thoughts on “Chickens through the seasons

  1. I wouldn’t mind a forage under that tree myself, with all those beautiful apples lying around, ripe for the pecking!
    Love the chicken’s eating rock. They’re so civilised – it’s like a proper dining table.

    1. I know, it makes for a very relaxing scene, doesn’t it? I often take a moment just to stand watching them, because I’m frankly envious. I think you’re spot on about their dining table – it’s very sweet. It makes it easy to call them to supper, like a bunch of kids – I just stand there with whatever offering I have and go ‘Tuk, Tuk, Tuk!’ and they come running. 🙂

  2. I bet those chickens were happy to see the run taken down. Planting a magnolia tree is a great way to re-purpose the area. Snow already? I’m soo not ready for that bit of news. 🙂

    1. They were really thrilled and just so ready to be the natural foragers that they are. Snow indeed! I had that moment, when I first looked out the window yesterday morning, when I thought ‘what is that white stuff?’ And my garlic isn’t in the ground yet! It has to go in this weekend!

  3. I’m curious how you deal with hawks, etc. Do you have a lot of winged-predator problems? What about egg-gathering? How much searching do you need to do to find hidden nests? Or are the girls pretty good about going back into the coop to lay?

    1. I think it’s really been down to good luck so far. Although we do have winged predators about, they seem to prefer stalking the open valley below our property, and leave the bit of ground up at the house unattended. We’ve heard that raccoons can be the biggest on-the-ground predator around here, but have so far been lucky. The egg gathering is tricky, as Americaunas are notoriously unreliable anyway. We do find eggs in all manner of places when they are laying. I think I’ve come to accept, quite happily, that we like having the chickens around as much for themselves as for their eggs, so we see any eggs that we recover (in a timely fashion!) as a bonus.

  4. I too love the eating rock – it probably minimizes the scorched earth policy that usually applies wherever chickens decide is their eating place, with all that scratching around. I’m curious about the wire tunnel on their gangplank…assume it’s to stop them jumping ship too soon, but why, since they free range?

    1. I’m really loving the rock ‘table’, it does indeed help. The wire tunnel is a leftover from the enclosure days; the tunnel led from the coop into the enclosure. We’ve left the tunnel in place as the chickens are so comfortable with it, and we feel as though it provides a bit of a deterrent for any ground predators that might otherwise want to slip into the coop during the day while their little door is open.

  5. Aren’t those Americaunas hardy chickens? I love how I don’t have to worry about their combs freezing. They are the first to come outside when I open the barn, along with the Leghorns. Nice Pictures.

    1. Oh my goodness, they constantly surprise me with how tough they are. Only on the very coldest days to they stay put, cuddled up together in a corner of the coop, otherwise they are up and at it!

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