After winter’s confinement
in the barn,
safe from predators,
chickens and guineas
are now free-ranging
across the Home Place—
scratching and pecking
in grass,
treating themselves
to the wild bird food,
digging in the dirt
to settle themselves.
Evening’s guinea roundups
have begun again.
The lone cat on the place
is the one that runs with chickens.
She’s lived with them all winter,
climbing in and out of the barn
at her pleasure.
Now she runs alongside them,
rubbing up against the hens
when they stand still.

Chickens out from winter confinement

Chickens out from winter confinement

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Cat still runs with chickens

Cat still runs with chickens

Hen helping herself to birds' food

Hen helping herself to birds’ food

Red-winged Blackbird taking to higher ground now that chickens our out

Red-winged Blackbird taking to higher ground now that chickens are out

DSCN3299Hens nestled into the cool soil

Hen Tail Feathers

Hen Tail Feathers

Rooster Tail Feathers

Rooster Tail Feathers

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The shy ones,
the Cochin couple,
have finally ventured
out of their small pen
and into the larger fowl community
in the barn.
Ann and Frank
have done spring cleaning in the barn,
distributing cartloads of chicken droppings
and straw to the gardens;
lifting winter’s curtains
and opening up the barn to spring air.
The Cochins have yet to find their way
outdoors. We expect they will,
eventually.
She’s laying eggs now,
he’s making them fertile.
All grown up
and beautiful.

Cochins in the barn

Cochins in the barn

Cochin Rooster

Cochin Rooster

Cochin Hen

Cochin Hen