Though really, we think we might confine them to close quarters next winter too, to save them tearing up the lawn and garden while everything's dormant. The grass looks a lot healthier now than it did last March (it was pretty much scalped last winter). It might mean buying an extra straw bale or two to keep their feet out of the mud, but that's just extra compost after all. I've spread some of the straw from their winter yard as mulch already--there's plenty to go around.
Anyway, I've set up three new paddocks at the back near their house, and they'll move through these once a week until around May (they'll be in each paddock a total of 2-3 weeks), and then we'll rotate them through at least one more paddock, and possibly the lawn. I'm giving last year's chicken yard a good long rest; right now it has both green manure and weed seedlings popping up where it wasn't mulched, and I want to get some good growth on it before chickens go back. Maybe late summer or autumn even.
As an aside, Tiny rooster's crowing has become a little louder lately; the other night, the husband grabbed him off the roost so I could adjust his little collar. Now his crowing is quieter, except every fifth crow which is LOUD. Think it might need fine tuning. We really don't want a complaint about his noise: he's too little and cute to eat.
|Let us out! Tiny rooster second from left|