The chickens have discovered Freedom. A month or so ago, it was really, really hot, and there was little shade in their run, so I thought, in my infinite wisdom, that I'd leave the gate open and see what transpired.
The first day, they barely ventured out.
The second day, the more daring of the group rounded the side of the run and made it to the big tree that provides them with all their shade in the first place.
By the third day, however, they had made a Very Important Discovery and declared their Independence from the Confines of The Run.
They found the crape myrtles.
They *love* the crape myrtles.
These days when I open the gate (because I don't dare keep them cooped up in their run now. They might mutiny. The instant one of them sees me coming each morning, she sounds the alarm so that all the girls are crowded by the door by the time I arrive), they expect it to stay open all day. They dash straight for the crape myrtles to see what's arrived there overnight because you never know - SOMETHING might be new. Oz is quite happy that they like it under there, because they keep the grass trampled so he doesn't have to mow it. I'm happy that they like it under there, because their poop ensures that the kids don't climb the shrubs nearly as often, which is something I had been *trying* to discourage anyway, but the chickens are having more luck in the discipline department there. I find great amusement in this.
When the horses' owner comes to feed, they follow her around because she will feed them oats or animal crackers while she's feeding the horses. I'll sometimes send the kids out with vegetable scraps to distribute as well. So they really, really like the crape myrtles.
But something they've discovered even more recently and which I find somewhat amusing and also somewhat annoying is...
They love it in there, and I'm not sure whether I'm quite as happy about this one. For one thing, the dogs DO hide or sleep in there when it rains. Sure, we haven't had many (ok, ok, ANY) storms for a while, but still. They DO use it. And while I'm resigned to the fact that I'll probably be playing Great Egg Hunt among the shrubbery of the crape myrtles, I have no desire to peer into a dark, slightly stinky, definitely musty doghouse to see what gems I might find. No, thank you. Not on my bucket list at all. Anywhere.
Still. It IS humorous to come home and have a dozen chickens bounce out of a doghouse to greet you.
They're good girls, very good, and quite tame as far as chickens go. They'll eat politely from your hand and let you pet their backs if they're calm. I haven't seen a mosquito in the yard since they started sojourning out each day. I just need to see if there's a way I can win this war before the egg-laying begins, because while they may have declared their Independence from the run, I will *not* be relegated to the doghouse!
I am Queen of My Domain!