Backyard Chickens

A special element of our life this past year has been our ever-changing flock of free-range chickens.

We were blessed with the original flock (mostly older hens) from friends, and then we added a few new ones, which we raised from baby chicks. Those little pullets are now beautiful, full-grown black-and-white Barred Rocks, who regularly give us eggs each day (but still think I’m Mama).

A couple months ago, one of the original Buff Orphingtons went broody. This big, gorgeously golden mama hen decided to sit on the other hens’ eggs in the nesting box, and displayed her protective mama abilities, pecking at anyone trying to gather eggs. (We don’t have a rooster, so we knew none of the eggs would actually hatch.)

So, one day, a fun trip with Grandpa to the hardware store resulted in bringing home the adventure of new baby chicks once again! Tucked under the broody hen as she dozed at night, she quickly took up her new mothering role!

It was adorable to watch her leading the little ones around (once they grew enough to safely venture around the yard). Our own baby loves to check on the “chick chicks” every day; insisting it is part of his routine!

Unfortunately, living up against forest lands in a rural area, we often have visiting wildlife. Coyotes and neighboring cats often race through the yard looking through lunch (which is why our flock is ever-changing). We have sadly had an older hen or little chicks taken on occasion.

We love having one of the older hens around, who insists on being the “look out.” She patrols around the yard, quickly clucking to let us know if any critters are approaching! She easily spies out any raccoon at the creek or cat creeping around the fence.

At night, after a day of exploring, finding bugs and slugs to munch on, and dusting themselves in dirt under the trees, they cluck their way back up the hill at twilight to their coop. They settle in to roost for the night.

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6 comments to Backyard Chickens

  • I’m slowly convincing my husband to let me get chickens. We live on a state road so they won’t be true “free range” but I’m still quite excited about it. :)


    Michele Reply:

    Yes, sometimes those silly hens cross the road, but for the most part, they’ve learned to stay home. You might need to toss out a bit of feed for them more often, so they don’t range as far. :)


  • If your situation allows, you could get a couple of geese, alpacas, llamas, a mule, or a guard dog to help keep the predators away.


    Michele Reply:

    Our situation certainly doesn’t allow for that, but thanks for the suggestions. :) So far, our family has been able to keep guard pretty well, and we’ve only lost a couple old, non-laying hens, and a young chick over the years.


  • Nadia

    Do you lock your hens in their coop at might?


    Michele Reply:

    Yes, after they go in for the night, we latch the door to keep critters out. It has worked very well so far. :)


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