Free-Ranging Heritage Chickens and Turkeys

Chickens are the quintessential farm animal.

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Black Jersey Giant

It just doesn’t feel quite like a farm without a chicken or two running around.  Chickens were one of the species we were most excited about adding to our farm.  In fact, had our backyard fence in our previous home been a privacy fence rather than chain link, we would have smuggled a couple laying hens onto our property and I’m confident nobody would have been the wiser.  That’s how much we wanted chickens!

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A Buckeye (right), a pair of Black Jersey Giants (middle) and a Speckled Sussex (left)

Now that we finally have our beautiful heritage chickens, we are enjoying them immensely.

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A Welsummer pullet

I daresay I won’t ever be without chickens again.

 

As soon as we had a sunny day on tap, we excitedly released our heritage birds to free-range on our farm. We moved them outdoors shortly after we had the broilers settled in their pen.

The kids happily took part in introducing our flock to the farmstead.WP_20160430_14_08_41_Pro  One by one they each grabbed a chicken and carried it from the brooder at the back of the barn around to the front of the barnyard where we had the broiler pen sitting in our future garden plot.

The birds stuck pretty close together at first. They wanted to be with the broilers so they would only venture around the four sides of the broiler pen, afraid to get too far away from the rest of the flock.  WP_20160430_14_15_06_Pro

As the days have gone by, they are beginning to explore the immediate areas surrounding them.

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A Black Jersey Giant and a Speckled Sussex

 

They don’t wander very far and can always be found between their new coop (which houses the feeder and some tantalizingly loose dirt) and the broiler pen.

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A Welsummer enjoying a dust bath

 

We love walking outside and seeing them running around.WP_20160502_13_35_50_Pro

They stretch out in the sun or dig into the dirt for an entertaining dust bath.  WP_20160502_13_45_47_Pro

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Dust bathing

(I had to chuckle when I witnessed one pullet (a female chick) trying to dust bathe on an incline of a little mound of dirt and, losing her balance, ended up rolling down to the bottom.) 🙂

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The feather pattern of Welsummer hens is beautiful

 

During warm afternoons we will find a few clumped together in a shady spot beside the barn for naptime.  Ryan was amused when one curious pullet kept visiting him in his workshop while finishing the broiler pen roof.

The old fence makes an irresistible perch.

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A Bourbon Red turkey poult (top) and a Buckeye (bottom)

 

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Chillin’ on the fence

 

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The turkeys have soft fuzzy heads, appealing feather coloration and a distinctive call

 

They love to peck at grass, leaves and bugs.

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A Buckeye, known for being a great mouser

WP_20160502_13_28_26_Pro They seem perfectly comfy and content being in the spring air, warm sunshine and green grass on our little piece of country.

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The friendliest of all our chickens, the Dominique

We heart chickens.

 

Warmly,

Becca

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