I was awakened this morning at 5 a.m. by some serious chicken squawking. So I grabbed my flashlight and focused it through the bedroom window and on the chicken pen. The girls were all worked up about something, but I didn’t see anything bothering them. Then I put on my flip-flops and went outside to be sure. They were still unhappy but I didn’t find anything and went back to bed, not to sleep, but I went back to bed.
The girls likely did see something, probably a raccoon or one of the foxes. Since I’ve had them I’ve discovered that chickens are a lot smarter than I expected. I’ve also learned to interpret the many noises they make. The noise they made this morning was the "big, bad something is after us" noise.
They also have a call for the old, stray cat that sometimes wanders through. That’s the "I see you and I don’t like you, but I can take you" call.
When I get home in the evenings, I usually let the chickens out of their pen. They scratch their way around the cabin and up the driveway. Sometimes they come when I call them back if I have food in my hand. Sometimes I have to pick them up. A couple are starting to think scratching in the woods is more fun than scratching in the driveway, and I have to keep an eye on them to make sure they don’t wander too far or out of sight.
The chickens are also better flyers than I expected. That’s one of the things they love to do when I let them out. They fly up the driveway or onto a low branch. Then they sit there looking all proud of themselves.
Right now I'm getting a lot of eggs from the girls. That will slow down or even stop for a while during the winter. And their evening woodland forays will end before long, as it will be dark when I get home. I haven't told them about that yet.