A New Run for the Girls

We have been having very variable weather here lately. Last week end it was cold and rainy with scattered frost warnings. This week end it has been hot…over 90F three days in a row, so our first official heat wave. It is a wonder anything survives in the gardens! Needless to say, the girls have not been able to work on the pumpkin patch every day. So it is not really finished. They have made a good start, and fertilized the area, but there is still some grass left. Nevertheless, I need to get the pumpkins in the ground soon if I expect them to ripen before the season is over. I will have to use some cardboard and newspaper to cover the grass that is left. Using permaculture techniques this shouldn’t be too difficult. No digging!

But that is a project for another day. The girls have loved being in the pumpkin patch and will complain fiercely if made to spend the rest of the summer in Cluckingham Palace. So today we set about making another run for them. I have a grove of birches that is in two sections. My plan is to connect the sections with more trees. I will plant fruit trees and under plant with something to make a food forest. But before I do, it would be good to get the girls in there, scratching and fertilizing. I also want to connect the area to the coop so the girls can go back and forth on their own. They have absolutely REFUSED to lay any eggs outside in the pumpkin patch. I have been bringing them back and forth on demand and to be perfectly honest it is getting a bit old. So I ordered a moveable fence. It is designed to keep rabbits etc out of a vegetable garden, but I am hoping it will also work to keep my girls contained. It is very lightweight and went up in no time.

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You can see how it is connected to the run/coop. With the door open, they can go to the birch area whenever they like.

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It is shady and cool with lots of tall grass to eat. I am hoping the trees provide some cover because I won’t be able to put a net over the whole thing.

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Here is the other side. It is a good sized area where they can scratch and peck to their hearts’ content.

Once it was up I invited the girls to try it.

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As always, they were suspicious. Not at all sure they would come out to see.
But a few shakes of the worm dish was all it took to picque their interest.

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Prudence, my “foodie” came running.

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Soon they were all in the run, just looking. Would they cross the threshold to the new run?

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Who would be the first?

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Prudence cautiously stepped down.

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Amber followed soon after.

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“Wait for me, I am coming, too,” said Maeve.

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Beatrix then made a dash for it. As usual she was last to figure out what was happening, but she made up for it with her enthusiasm. She was an absolute blur, as she rushed into the new run.

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Briana appeared suddenly as well, so they were all there.

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Time to explore!
I will let these pictures speak for themselves.

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They look like very happy hens to me. They had something to say when it was time to go back to the coop! Lots of complaining. But tomorrow is another day…

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…and there will be plenty of time for exploring!

About patti

I am a retired kindergarten teacher, tending a new kind of garden now, raising chickens and exploring permaculture. I live with my husband, Bill, my beloved dog, Fergus and my cat, Mighty Merlin. We have a small cottage and a tiny bit of land called Brookwood Shire. It is our sanctuary.
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10 Responses to A New Run for the Girls

  1. This is adorable!! They are so funny! The new run will be great fun for them. It looks like they love it!

    • pattigail says:

      I think they will. And I agree they are adorable. I debated using all those pictures….but I just thought they were so cute I went ahead. Glad you liked it.

  2. wspines says:

    Patti, The pictures are wonderful, I love the picture of Prudence asking you wheres the food!! What a great area for them and they are protected so well.

    • pattigail says:

      Isn’t she great? I hope they are protected. It is more open than the pumpkin patch so of course I am nervous, but they have tree cover and there will be some netting eventually. Glad you like the pictures.

  3. hobacaitbe says:

    Your Ladies are beautiful. Nice pictures. My ladies and Jack complain bitterly when not allowed out of their run.
    Ed

    • pattigail says:

      Do you free range them?

      • hobacaitbe says:

        Yes, if I or my wife are home. They get a lot of time out. I wait till mid-morning to let them run mostly because of the predators and partly because I want them to lay in the nesting boxes. This means that I have to fence everywhere that I don’t want them to be. This has been a learning spring. I wanted tick/bug control and they need to run the yard to do that. Fortunately I live on a rather quiet street, they have crossed it once and made it to the backyard of the house across from me. They were feasting under my neighbors bird feeders when I found them. Some times I think they have learned where they can go without me going mental on them. And sometimes they need a reminder. I have a good sized yard and they look SO HAPPY out there a-pecking and a-scratching that I hate to deny them.
        Ed

      • pattigail says:

        Lucky girls. And they have Jack to protect them some. I intended to free range mine until a hawk swooped in. Their run has a clear roof and he actually tried to get them. He also got some birds at the bird feeder this winter. Plus we have power lines behind us where I know foxes and coyotes live and I would not want them wandering down there…especially since National Grid has started using Round Up. Wouldn’t want them eating that. So they will have to settle for their “orchard run” for now. I do envy people who just let their hens wander about their yards.

  4. hobacaitbe says:

    When I finished my last reply, I went out to see where they were and——I have a new england stonewall along the street—–and—–three of them were on the street side. Time to go mental. I wonder what they think when I do that. They love to have the run of the yard and woods but it does have a risk factor. I haven’t seen a cricket or grasshopper this year.
    Ed

  5. That moveable run looks perfect. The girls are clever to be cautious, but not overly so. It looks like you will have happy eggs from now on – they have to be healthier than cooped-up eggs.

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