The Hen-House Doors open to the Great Outdoors.

I let the chickens out in to the wilding field yesterday evening. We are safe from the rooster threat now.

A few roosters went to one place and a few roosters went to another place (to introduce new characteristics to the gene pools of other flocks), so now there are only 5 roosters left on the property.

So, I hesitantly let the chickens out into the field last night.

And they were very happy. I love keeping hens.

There are no really good data in regards to how many rural or urban homes in the midwest keep chickens. (In rural areas there is a profound mistrust of authority and if they can hide it they will). But of the numbers gathered the major reasons for keeping chickens were as food (eggs) for home use (95%), gardening partners (63%), pets (57%), and obviously a combination of these. (Thank you Aunty Google)

flock of chickens in the grass

These chickens are not pets and though they do eat buckets of weeds a day I would not call them gardening partners exactly. Our flock is registered so we can sell the eggs. Though we don’t so far (sell eggs) – the flock is much smaller now. The primary reason for keeping chickens was the manure and eggs for the house and eggs to feed pigs. Well, I cannot find any pigs to grow on this year. So we will have a lot of extra eggs.

Anyway late, late yesterday afternoon I let the chooks out for a scratch. (Sorry about this pic – wrong exposure).

Flock of rural chickens in the long grass
Wide shot of flock of rural chickens in the grass with sky and trees.

The roosters who have so far escaped me are whily (sp) fellows. They fight each other all day long and attack the ducks but late in the afternoon my flock looked calm as they ranged through the long grasses. And when dark came they were all back in their chook house – all I had to do was shut the door.

I will keep three well behaved roosters but hope to catch the 2 scrappers at some point. They will go across the way.

From now on the chickens only come out in the evening and are locked back in at night. No more chickens laying in corners willy nilly and wildly hatching chicks all over the place. The hawks and the cats get most of the chicks and I do not want a repeat of the Rooster Problems.

Nelson the Wescue Wabbit

Sometimes I leave this door open for Nelson while I do chores. It is quite high up so she does not jump out – she just sits in the sun.

Of course in this shot she is looking for a way to get closer to me because I have her bowl of dinner!

Rescue rabbit looking out of hutch

Blossoms. Apple Blossoms.

Apple blossom
Boo, farm dog, waiting on the path in front of the steps.

Boo waiting patiently for me to finish outside. I told him “Boo, I am never really finished outside”.


Because I have not been able to find any pigs to grow on we will do broiler chooks this year. I will order them to arrive after I am back from NZ/Aus. I do not like to have fat broilers in the heat of the midwest summer so we will start them late August. They cannot take the heat when they are fat. Heat is fine for the little ones but it is better if they fatten in the last few weeks of October weather – though honestly – I really have no idea what the weather will do and am taking an educated guess at the best time for field raised chicken.

And they will grow well out in the field, eating grass and fed on boiled eggs and delicious organic corn from the fields.

First I need to call and see if the local organic chicken slaughter house will take them – it has been a while since I grew chickens for the freezer.

I am going to trial a new housing/field system. You’ll see.


Weather in central illinois April 27 - 5.30 am

Still freezing over night. But it is going to get lovely and warm today!

The next ten days will be a little like this – cool nights and warm days – but it looks like this might be the last freezing night – so now the soil might start to warm up. I am going to go out and take the soil temp this afternoon to see what we have so far.

None of my seeds have sprouted out in the kitchens garden so far. I thought the peas might have come up but nothing.

Have a lovely day!


16 Comments on “The Hen-House Doors open to the Great Outdoors.

  1. A few of the urban flocks are re-emerging in the neighborhoods I’ve noticed after what I assume as being taken down by the avian flu. I’m glad to see your girls enjoying the wild field.

    Nelson is being so well behaved now that I actually miss her mischief around the house.

    Why do you think no plonkers to be had? Short supply or something else?

    • I don’t know why it is so hard to find piglets – it has been a few years since I looked though! Feed is getting awfully expensive I do know that but still – I think most of it was timing. I had a guy then he let me down then I rung the other guys but all their feeder pigs had been sold already. Maybe they are hard to find because more people are growing out their own animals?

  2. Oh, no piglets, just as l was getting excited. Lucky chicks back outside a bit and great to have deposited most of those unruly roosters! Faithful waiting Boo and that delightful Nelson. Gorgeous evocative photos as usual.

  3. I read yesterday that the reason roosters don’y go deaf from their own cock-a-doodle-do is they throw their heads way back and the action protects/covers their ears like ear plugs.

  4. I keep chooks for the eggs, and the entertainment, and because they are very efficient processors of my kitchen scraps. The two of us don’t produce enough really for a good hot compost system, so I feed it all to the chooks apart from stuff they can’t use (coffee grounds, etc), which goes into a tumbler. I’m considering using them to prepare some ground for a vegie bed: I’d pull their tractor onto the same spot every day when they’re let out to forage, until they’ve abolished the grass and pooped on it thoroughly, then I’d cover it with the rotted down wood chips, vegetable waste and more poop from the chook yard, and bingo, ready to go. The Girls will do the bending and digging for me…

  5. Yeh I forgot to say how much I love that Boo picture!! I just love him!! And I’ll sure sit with you on the steps Celi and join you with a glass of New Zealand wine!!! a Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc!! umm~ nice wine!!!

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