Letting go is hard.
You can’t help but think back to when they were babies with sweet innocent faces. How they relied on you for food and warmth and love.
But part of raising young is allowing them to spread their wings and leave the nest, so you swallow your fears and smile and encourage them to step out into the world, all the while doing what you can to make sure they stay safe.
In other words, we’re finally starting to let the teenage chickens range out of the coop. Which is scary because we’ve heard so many cautionary tales from other chicken owners about eagles, hawks and even ravens swooping in and carrying off young birds. There’s also raccoons and minks and otters who pose a threat to chickens in general, although we’ve not seen any. For us, the biggest danger we can see is there is that fox who still lurks nearby–just today, Neela, our broodmare, again came snorting out of the barn, head held high, scanning the area for the threat she could smell before she could see. I followed her gaze and sure enough, there he was, the same small, black fox. He has cute roundish ears and a pert black nose. But he’s after the chickens, who we’ve raised since they were one day old, so I regard him with a hardened heart.
For now, the girls, as we call them, are only allowed out under close supervision. Which is fine with them–they love Matt, and hover close to him, cooing happily. The Barred Rock chickens are friendlier than the Australorps; I’m not sure if it’s a breed character trait or we simply spent more timing handling the Barred Rock because they were our firstborns, so to speak.
And one fox.
Wish us luck!