I am the Alpha Chicken

June 4, 2012 at 2:36 pm (Random Thoughts) (, , , , )

Ummm, how did that come about?  Oh yeah, at the beginning of March, when I bought a handful of chicks to start raising.  Since I am their primary caregiver, they have impressed upon me. And today it was more evident than ever.

Their current pen is topless and bottomless; it sits on boards when in the garage, and we have a framed top that is removable.  A couple times a week we move them out into the yard so they can get grass and dirt and bugs and be in the outdoors – prep for being in their own permanent run.

Today as I was preparing to move them to the holding box as I took their pen out, two of the chickens flew out of the pen and into the garage. At that point, I decided – to hell with it.  I’d been considering letting them free range a bit with supervision – today is the day.  So I tip the pen on its side, leaving all the chickens now standing on their own, free, in the garage.  I start moving the pen out into the yard, and the chickens?  They stand there.  No clue what to d0 with all this sudden freedom but stand about in the very safe garage.

I get the pen out into the yard and come back – a few adventurous ones have stepped out of the garage, but the majority are so not digging this pen free idea.  So I start clapping my hands rapidly, walking backwards, and a couple start following me, and the rest follow them.

Commence the feather pulling and jumping about – literally.  Some try to control the others, pulling on tails and wings.  Others decide to test the freedom, hopping and flapping, getting a few feet away from their starting point.

Free ranging for the first time.

And then, beeline for the area around the pen.  Lots of tall happy grass, lots of wee bugs and flying gnats – everyone is happy.  I sit down on the surround around the old stove that decorates the yard between the trees, and I am in the center of a preschool. Totally toddlers, the chickens wander here and there, staying mainly in a group, but every once in a while coming over to me, just to eyeball me, check that I’m still there, or to peck on my ring.

Not going too far from their pen.

Happy sounds abound.

So after a time, realizing that they will mainly stay together, I decide to go clean the boards – get the old bedding swept out,  scrape stuck on poo off the boards.  This takes but a few minutes, and when I step out of the garage again, a line of chickens is heading straight for me!

Actual distance from where the pen is to the garage.

What?  Not enough bugs?  Not enough shade?  No, there is both, but we’re toddlers, remember? Mommy went out of sight!   MUST FIND MOMMY!

So I walk them back out, sit down with them again or a time, and eventually I decide it’s time for them to go back in the pen.  I move the pen further into the shade (flock has decided they might have a fleeting chance to catch that little yellow butterfly) and once I have it settled, they rush the pen as if it’s going to disappear. For once, no protesting when I pick them up and put them in the pen (except from one) no attempts to fly out when I go get their water and the pen lid.

Oh no – the pen moved! Must check on it!

Babies have had enough free range time for the day.

Husband says I must be the Alpha Chicken.

More pictures of  babies first day free ranging –

Let us in, let us in!

“broken chickens”! Sunning themselves, enjoying the day.

I heard something that sounds like us!

Mom? Mom?

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