We have a chicken barn that has 16 state-of-the-art suites inside. Outside there are 9 high security runs so that the different clans of chickens can go in an out during the day as they please. Then all of the run doors open into a 2000 square foot fenced and covered play area. Only one clan of chickens in allowed out in the pay run at a time because each group has at least one rooster. This set up keeps the peace among the clans. We try to ensure each group equal play time. Hopefully that paints a picture of our general setup. The turkey barn, which only has 2 suites and 2 high security runs (all of which are much larger to accommodate the larger birds) also opens into the play run. This year we found our selves with insufficient space in the chicken barn, but an extra suite in the turkey barn, so Big Fred and is harem of hens (9 in all) got upgraded from their double suite in the chicken barn to one of the suites in the turkey barn because they are the full size chickens that we have.
So why all this back story? Well, it will make the next part make a lot more sense.
We have had family in from out of town, so our regular routine has been disrupted to say the least. The people responsible for securing each barn and collecting eggs in the evening were sometimes otherwise engaged and whom ever was available would step in. The problem with that if you are not familiar with the clans, you may not do an accurate head count. This morning Justin says to me, “Tim must have missed Mrs. Doubtfeather (our speckled sussex) last night because when I went to let everyone out this morning, she met me in the run.” I accepted this statement without question with everything that has been going on. Besides, she was fine, so no harm, no fowl….so to speak.
After all the morning chores were done, I decided that is was Big Fred’s turn in the play run. I trotted up the hill and waded my way through the excited swarm of hens to open the door on the opposite side. They instantly knew it meant play time and darted through the open door. One, two, three and so on…except when the run was empty, no Mrs. Doubtfeather had scurried past me. I looked around. I check in the barn. I looked around again, I called to her and then I check the barn again. Hmmmm…. Where could she be. I know she was here this morning… Then something caught my eye at the corner of the barn…
Sure enough… Mystery solved… I guess she was tired of us taking her eggs out of the barn every night.