So far Spring has been very lovely with temperatures hovering right around 10º C and eight straight days of sun, sun, and more sun. I know I want to spend as much time basking in a sunspot as the cats do and I figured the chickens would love to do a little grazing on the expanding patch of lawn that is being exposed. The snow has been melting quickly but has been remaining in broad patches that work to keep the chickens close to the house where I can keep and eye on them.
This has worked out well these last few days, until today that is. A huge patch of snow melted off yesterday, exposing thatch and flower beds. Unfortunately, it also melted off enough to allow access to the side walk between the house and the garage. Each time I looked outside the chickens were merrily scratching and picking away at the ground under the crabapple tree, until the last time I looked for them.
The chickens had discovered the sidewalk and had decided to go exploring. I was sitting at my desk and a movement out of the corner of my eye caught my attention. I assumed it was a wild bird coming in for a snack at the recently filled feeder. Instead, to my horror and some amusement, I see 5 hens happily pecking around in the driveway and 2 more heading into the ditch next to the road, on the neighbours side of the cedar trees.
Needless to say I headed out the door as fast as I could waddle, with a couple slices of bread in my hand. The girls have been very good about coming when I call, so I called them to me. Showing them the bread in my hand helped speed their their legs along nicely too. I broke the bread into pieces and tossed it into the chicken pen and shut them all in when they went in to grab the bread.
I not sure how I am going to keep them in the yard. Perhaps it is time to think about fencing the entire yard in again. In the meantime, I don't dare let the chickens free range unless I am outside with them. Otherwise I may end up a few hens short at the end of the afternoon.