It’s quiet now that the children have left home

Last Sunday we put together our other small house and run and the chicks, now three weeks old, moved from the brooder to the great outdoors. No more cheeping to greet us when we come downstairs in the morning.

For the chicks, it’s a huge change of environment. Inside there’s no wind, no weather, just a lovely cosy electric hen to snooze under in between eating and drinking. Now, although they’re safe from predators, they have the breeze, the sun, and the rain to contend with, and only each other to cuddle up to.

It always amuses us to watch them take their first steps into the outside world. So here is that part of the story, best told in pictures, I think. We start with the chicks in the house, plenty of Aubiose on the floor, but the doors shut. Only a little light comes in through the window and the ventilators.

After an hour or two, we open the door to the run.

After a loooong pause, they shuffle a bit closer to the door.

And eventually pluck up courage to look around.

Provided we stick together, we can even explore the ramp.

“You rotters! You crept back inside and left me there by myself!”

The first one out didn’t march boldly down the ramp. He fell off. Or was pushed.

But of course, as soon as one’s out, the others quickly follow.

Until all six were out, albeit still in a nervous huddle.

We closed the run and left them to it so that they could find their food and water without being disturbed. When we next looked, six fluffy bottoms were poking out from under the feeder rain-hat, and all was right in their world.

It seems incredible how fast they grow. Here’s our earlier hatch, now 12 weeks old.

One of them is attempting to crow. We may be eating home-reared chicken sooner than we thought.

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