Well I got these chickens as laying hens. All seemed OK -not great the first couple of weeks. They laid about 6 eggs in two weeks -not super laying numbers by any means but I figured they needed to settle in and get used to life at our farm.
Then they stopped laying. I blamed it on their quarters, we hadn't finished their chicken tractor yet and had to use a dog x-pen and dog carrier as their temporary home for a couple of weeks. Meanwhile we had some hard rains and the chickens got wet. I wasn't about to blame them for not laying under those conditions.
Then they moved to their new chicken tractor and still they didn't lay. But I gave them the benefit of the doubt- afterall they had moved twice in less than a month. Finally we found an egg or two in the tractor and we thought all was well.
Then things heated up in Texas. It seems these chickens don't lay when the temps are above 90 degrees nor do they lay when it storms. In Texas conditions are either stormy or hot or both about 75% of the time. I won't be counting on these two chickens for my egg needs much longer.
I was going to put an ad on Craigslist offering two free game chickens (my dd would never forgive me if we ate her first chickens), but then I had an idea! I've been battling bugs and pests in my gardens as I do every summer -what better to demolish the grasshopper population then a couple of chickens?
This morning I opened the coop. Chocolate instantly took off running (her wing feathers haven't grown back in sufficiently to fly). She ducked under the horse fence and kept on running. Wild thing. I figured she was gone forever. Egg White meanwhile came out and wandered around, then ducked through the electric fence pen where the sheep are. I didn't think anything of it until an hour or so later, when I look out to see Jasper, the pyreness puppy chasing her. She beat a hasty retreat under the fence and then hung out for the afternoon. I think Jasper was only trying to play but he could have killed her in a heartbeat if he had got hold of her.
I just went to put Egg White back in the coop and thought I should at least make an effort to find Chocolate. I looked into the horse field and there she was poking about. I climbed the fence into the pasture and maneuvered past where she was and then approached her. She took off to hide under some Cedar bush. I grabbed a stick intending to beat the bushes, but then the horses came to investigate what the commotion was about. They scared her out and she took off running toward the fence and the coop on the other side. She ran along the fence line looking for a spot she could duck under and found one, only to find Jasper on the other side. He didn't do much but she took off in the other direction-right towards the coop. She ducked through the fence and jumped into the coop.
With a grin I closed the coop door and thought Day one free ranging done! I wonder how day two will go?
Safely back in the coop for the night