Some time in November I removed the fence around the chickens in preparation for the snow which damages it. Chickens never go far in the snow and they knew where home was so I felt ok letting them roam around. They enjoyed their liberty enormously and did very well coming back at dusk. Problem is they also started laying; not all picked the coop as their laying spot.
We finally let the chickens explore their whole area. We kept them pretty close to their coop for a while so they’d learn where home it. We’re getting better at this this is the most seamless chicken integration we’ve had. No loose chicken, no running around in the forest, no stubborn roosting habits. We know how to foster good habits now and it’s making everyone’s lives a lot easier. They now roam around all day and go home on their own at night. It’s a pleasure to open their door in the morning and see how happy they are to satisfy their instincts. They are still fenced in for now but on a large area that we’ll rotate. In a few weeks they will probably be ok with no fence but then the predators might be an issue.
Go my minions, keep that grass down for me.