Since I write quite a bit about my chickens, perhaps some might have the impression that we live on a farm. WRONG! We actually SOLD the farm about 6 years ago and bought some acreage in a woods with trees as tall as 70 ft. or better. Our house is well off the road and up a long lane in a clearing. When we moved here, we had only one hen, named Tina. She was a trick hen - played concert piano! Sadly she passed away 3 years ago, and that's when the HUBBS said "...why don't you get another hen?"....and I came home with 6 baby pullets!!! We're up to 11 now, and that's just fine with me! We have eggs to eat and eggs to sell!
In the woods we've seen deer, wild turkey, fox, coyote, and one night there was even something that could have been a black bear - we don't know for sure. We saw claw marks on a tree, and the animals were acting strange that evening. I keep my hens in 2 dog runs that are connected together to form one large one. They stay there during the day until all the eggs have been accounted for, then towards evening, we let them roam for a couple hours while we're home to keep an eye on them. As it begins to turn dark, I call them in to their enclosure to roost for the night. They love treats to fill their crops before bedtime, and so they get scratch grains, bread scraps, or veggies. If they ignore those treats and still want to linger on the lawn, I bring out the secret weapon - COTTAGE CHEESE!!! (That always works, in a pinch!)