Initially, they went out for short periods with constant supervision to avoid mishaps, whether predator or chick idiocy based. They would spend most of their time under some part of me but eventually plucked (did you see what I did there) up courage to venture a little further away.
They enjoyed themselves very much, scratching at the dirt with absolutely no idea as to what they were looking for. I would sit there tapping the ground in a 'mother hen-like' fashion, directing them to something that they might find tasty. This had been something I'd been doing since day one. I would tap near some food with my finger and they would trust that it was OK to eat.
As they grew used to their outdoor visits, they would run about flapping their wings and generally having a merry old time. It was at this point that they encountered their future garden mates. George the tortoise, who they didn't like at all and Pippin the rabbit who, despite his size (he's a French Lop & bigger than your average rabbit), didn't seem to worry them half as much. But a moving stone? I guess that's going to freak you out.
|Pippin - he's very particular about where he goes to the toilet.|
|George - aka the moving stone.|
As Betty & Brick got older and braver, I put them into Pippin's run and left them outside for longer periods. They liked this very much and would split their time between scratching for food and sunbathing, unless I was hovering about armed with a camera.
|Enjoying the sun.|
|Enjoying the sun and Chick Crumb|
|Brick couldn't resist doing something odd for the camera.|
|A rare two-headed chicken.|
At this point, the chicks were about five weeks old. By six weeks I let them free range for the first time.
They enjoyed themselves immensely, foraging through the flower beds and generally acting more like little chickens than chicks. Guess I'd better hurry up and make a decision on that coop!