Following the visit from the two ‘chicken experts’ we decided to try giving the hens the freedom of the garden one evening when the cats were indoors.
They loved it in a very non-excited way and calmly pecked their way round the grass, ignoring the vegetable patch completely.
The following day we let them out in the morning, together with the cats, under close supervision, and, to my surprise it worked wonderfully well. Yes, the cats were ‘interested’ but the hens weren’t remotely phased and if a cat approached too close for comfort the hens flapped their wings and that was enough to give the cats the message. Later it was lovely to see Toby stretched out on the grass beside two hens.
This meant that their run was now available for the chicks and as soon as it warmed up we transferred them to their new playground.
They had a whale of a time, running, jumping and, above all, wallowing in the dirt. Yes, they all rolled themselves in the earth and had dustbaths. Now they are a dirty grey colour.