It’s high time for an update on our chickens, or “the girls” as we like to call them around here.
They are doing well in their coop/run, living outside full-time, and our kitchen is a much cleaner and quieter (and dare I say happier) place without them. Yesterday we gave them their first opportunity to free-range and venture out of their run. For some reason, Lucy and Deanna, the Buff Orpingtons, are more inquisitive and brave and less likely to startle than the Black Australorps.
Did you know that chickens eat grass? Lots of it. I tried to capture a shot of a blade of grass disappearing down one of their beaks, but I couldn’t get the shot because they sucked it down their gullets too fast. They probably spent a total of an hour and a half outside yesterday and 90% of that time was spent actively eating grass and one other tender-leafed weed that I don’t know the name of. I read recently that grass is a good source of Omega-3 fatty acids, which is why grass-fed beef is so great, and I hope that this translates to their eggs once they start laying. Humans can’t digest grass so we need animals to digest it for us.
This is how the coop is set up. To the right is our outdoor laundry room (it’s more of a laundry shelter actually), and this nook on the side of our house isn’t very usable to us. Now it’s a great home for chickens. I hope it takes them a while to clear all the greenery in this area.
To me they look almost like adult chickens now, but I think they still have a lot of growing to do. I’d guess they weigh 1.5 – 2 lbs. each at this point. The breed standards for both types of birds is about 8 pounds! That’s a big chicken. Our Buffs are still smaller than the Blacks, and Lucy is still the smallest chicken, and my fingers are still crossed that this doesn’t mean she’ll surprise us by crowing in a few more weeks.
I tried to encourage them across the path to the bounty of grass and bugs on the other side, but they were unwilling to get too far from home. I assume eventually they’ll be willing to venture farther across the yard, but no need to push it.