Chickens have got to be frugal, right? They love to forage around the yard looking for things to eat and, in fact, only eat half as much feed as when they are penned up in the winter. I love watching them out there too, interacting in their little social ways. When they are outside foraging the egg yolks get a lovely bring colour and are so much more appealing than pale store eggs.
Unfortunately, we heard from the neighbour last weekend that something got in and killed most of their chickens. Not too sure what it was although I thought it sounded like a weasel since it didn't take the birds, just killed them and left them. Of course, that could easily be a loose dog too. The only thing we have caught sight of is a fox hanging around but I am inclined to disbelieve she is to blame since I think she would have taken the birds with her and wouldn't have killed so many at once.
In the meantime, my chooks have had their freedom curtailed until we determine if it is safe for them to be wandering around. I only have 17 hens and 1 rooster so don't really want to lose any. They are all Red Rock Cross which is a nice breed of chickens.
We get about a dozen eggs a day from "the girls" and that keeps us and the kids in eggs and we have enough left over for a couple of regular customers and what we get for the ones we sell basically pays for the feed.
I think watching chickens is relaxing in the same way that watching fish in an aquarium is calming. They take very little time to care for although cleaning the chicken house is not a chore I enjoy.