Today was the first day I took the new chicks out of the brooder for a little while and put them in a small cage in the yard (Thanks Small Farm Girl for the idea!). This has got to be the most fascinating thing to watch. For the first 5-10 minutes the chicks huddled together with only a few of the brave ones venturing out to peck at a blade of grass. After about 15 minutes, they seemed to muster up enough nerve to check out the new digs. Shortly thereafter, they were running around, pecking at the grass and everything else, stretching their wings and chirping with happiness. About 20 feet away, the older hens in the garden became quite interested in the chirps, poking their heads up in curiosity!.
We did have a breakthrough yesterday when we found that one of our dogs, Waylon, is not interested in easting or chasing the big chickens. We had him out in the yard with the hens while we were herding them back to their pen with bits of bread. Waylon was more interested in getting the bits of bread than the chickens. This makes me very happy that at least one of our dogs can coexist with the chickens.
Kyra is a different story. As I have said before, Kyra is very distressed with the chicken situation, the herding of the big hens, a chirping brooder in the garage, and now today big chickens in the garden, little chickens in a cage, Oy! Today I put the big hens in a makeshift pen outside the garden. Now this pen is big enough to keep chickens in (until they learn they can fly over it), but not strong enough to keep dogs out (i.e. chicken dinner for Kyra if I don't keep an eye on her). When the hens are in this pen, I keep a close eye on Kyra. Kyra knows she is not allowed near the chickens, but the moment I turn my back she would be sniffing around. Good thing she is a decent listener and when I tell her to stay away from the chickens in their pen, she usually does (when I am watching her!). When she is "forbidden" to go near something she really wants, she purposefully ignores me and that which she cannot have!
Kyra ignoring the chicks in their cage
While also ignoring the big hens in the fence (chick cage is just outside the right frame of the picture!)
I could spend hours watching the antics between the chickens and the dogs. Although this may exasperate my chicken brain symptoms! I wonder where people without pets get their daily ammusement!
If you like funny pictures of dogs and chickens, check Small Farm Girl, she has herself a chicken guarding pup that will make you laugh!