During Chicken Exercise Hour today, I slung the aviary netting over the Chicken Yard. That means I can leave the girls back there for an afternoon without worrying about predation too much (a determined predator would be able to get through the net, but they would probably get terribly tangled in it in the process).
Everybody is looking very chickenesque these days. You can see here that Debbie's getting her belly feathers in still, but most of the rest is all feathery. She's about five weeks old now. I love the little earmuffs.
With a few visits to the yard under their feathers, the girls are much more exploratory than they had been. Today they dust-bathed in a different spot (one of the piles of soil from the fence post digging), and explored around the larger compost bin.
The bin is made from three pallets lashed together with brass wire, and it has a certain population of insect life thanks to about two years of service. This was of great interest to the girls.
For reasons I don't totally understand, they seem to all fixate on one area and try to get right there, rather than spreading themselves along the length of the bin. Maybe they think there's something special there. Maybe they're right.
It was mostly Debbie, though. I think those little white dots are bug eggs, and she was eating them.
Eventually Carole figured out that she could jump up and reach higher.
And then Joan joined her.
They're still getting the hang of perching -- check out Joan's death-grip on the slat she's standing on there -- but they're mostly good at it. Occasionally they will try to stand somewhere and just fall over, at which point they flap their wings and try to pretend they intended to fly down anyway.
A recent addition to the equipment is a lid for the transport box so the girls will not fly out halfway across the yard. This meant that the dogs could come over and look, which Rosie was very interested in doing.
And finally, I added a bunch more movies, of which this is one: