Monday, July 6, 2009

Empty Nest

The chicks are six weeks old now, and when they started smelling all grown up last week, it was time to move them from their indoor box to their outdoor coop. I assembled my Eglu henhouse and chicken run, which looks like a first-edition iMac (and comes in as many colors) with a cage attached. I chose the Eglu because, number 1, I'm not handy enough with a hammer to build a coop myself; number 2, it's lightweight and maneuverable enough to move around the yard so the chickens don't scorch the earth they live on; and number 3, I like the mod look of it. Here is a slide show of my son introducing the chicks to their new home.

The girls love being outside. They are truly in their element, pecking the ground constantly, eating bugs, and grazing on the grass. They still prefer the cozy confines of the coop, though. Put them out in the wide-open world of the yard, and they get nervous. Generally, they run for the protection of the side of the house or under the hosta leaves, but if they really get frightened, they fly up onto our arms or shoulders. I find this funny, since most of the time they dodge and duck our every attempt to pick them up.

This one took my dad by surprise when she got spooked
and flew up onto his shoulder.

We're introducing them slowly
to an unconfined outdoors, though we won't be able to let them range freely without our supervision. We don't have a fenced yard, and we've heard horror stories about loose dogs killing entire flocks.

Birds of a feather flock together.

Especially out in the yard, these three chickens move as one, like a school of fish. Even in the coop, they keep close in mind and body. What one investigates, the others need to see. What one has, the other wants. If you separate one, they call to each other and try to become "whole" again. It's so interesting and endearing to see what a family they've become.

Alethea Morrison, Creative Director
All photos by Mars Vilaubi

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