The Omlet Blog

Rosie’s Chicken Keeping Adventure – A Taste of the Free Ranging

Social Media Executive Rosie has been at Omlet for a year, and when she was asked by her managers if she was interested in broadening her chicken knowledge (and creating fun content for Omlet’s social media platforms) with her very own flock, she said yes straight away.

Since we last spoke to Rosie a few weeks ago, the 5 ex-caged hens have settled into their new home, and are starting to discover the world outside the safety of their Eglu Cube and Walk in Chicken Run. 

We let them out one nice afternoon after having had them on the run for a few weeks. They were quite hesitant at first, as if they didn’t really know what to do. But once they realised they could go and explore they absolutely loved it!

They have a few hours outside every day and they run around on the grass, make dust baths in the borders and peck at everything. Before, we could go in and out of the run and they wouldn’t really be bothered about the door being open, but now as soon as we come to see them they stand waiting to be let out and often try to escape between our legs. So they’ve definitely had a taste of freedom, and they love it!

Rosie's Chicken Keeping Adventure - a taste of the free ranging, Omlet Eglu Cube Chicken Coop

Have you had any luck with Evie the dog interacting with them?

We still keep Evie inside when the chickens are out, just because I’m not sure how she would handle it. More than anything I think she would just like to play with them, but probably a bit too rough.

We’re going to get some chicken fencing for when they are all out at the same time, to create a kind of barrier. Once they are used to each other I hope that will be fine.

What do the hens do for fun?

They use the PoleTree in the run all the time, when I come out in the morning they are already on there. They haven’t reached the highest perches yet, but they’re slowly climbing up.

So far they haven’t been too bothered about the Freestanding Perch Tree. We have it out in the garden, and I think they are just too busy exploring everything else when they are free ranging that they don’t want to perch. But once it’s not quite as much of a novelty it’ll be nice for them to have somewhere to perch outside the run as well.

What else has happened since we last spoke?

Their feathers are getting a lot healthier, you can really tell a difference from when we rehomed them. One of the hens has got more or less a full plumage with really shiny feathers, and she was the one that looked the worst to start with.

We’re still getting 3-5 eggs every day, so we’ve had to start giving them away to friends and family. We’re super popular guests now!

I also gave them some strawberries from the veg patch the other day, and they absolutely loved it – they were going crazy!

Any problems?

Not really a problem, but we live in quite a rural area and the neighbourhood cats have definitely sniffed out the hens. We can see them sitting on the fence looking at the chickens when they are out in the garden, and there was a red kite circling over them the other day as well. I don’t know if they would actually go for them, but I’m glad they are in the Walk in Run when we’re not there though, so I know they are safe. 

Rosie's chicken keeping adventure, free ranging hens

This entry was posted in Chickens

3 replies on “Rosie’s Chicken Keeping Adventure – A Taste of the Free Ranging”

Helen Barratt says:

I was so curious to read “Rosie’s Story” that for the first time ever – I have ventured into social media! How glorious to read about the rescued hens and to a health and freedom which they have never experience . Relating to Evie – we introduced our little dog “Pixie” on the lead whilst the hens were in the pen a couple of days after the hens arrived. Pixie was very interested in them and curious about the news smells … she had no problem at all – nor did the “girls”. Later – when we started free-ranging the hens – we again took Pixie out on the lead – just to watch – and she was interested in everything, despite our fears that she may be concerned about “intruders” in “her” garden. Eventually – she was off the lead and pushing her ball towards them in an appeal to play “football” with her. Surprisingly (!) the chickens weren’t interested, and walked away – leaving Pixie crestfallen – she had hoped they would play! A year or so on – and they mooch around together – four white bodies in the garden. When they make a “distress” sound – we have trained Pixie to go out and check the perimeter fences for cats – as initially local cats traversed our garden. Pixie takes her “job” seriously and is constantly checking the window to make sure that all is well… The joy we have gained from hen-keeping is immense – the pleasures continue to grow. I’m afraid they are spoiled – their “afternoon tea” comprises corn, greens, sweetcorn, mealworms, pasta/rice/bread, tomatoes/grapes – and if tea doesn’t arrive at five p.m. on the dot – they tap at the window to remind us … As a writer, I couldn’t resist charting the daily joy of our “girls”, and I wonder if you may like “Lifting the Latch”?
I lift a black latch,
twist, turn anti-clockwise …
a door opens …

they march down in single file
(how else – on a ladder so narrow?)
cluck cluck, chuck chuck from us all …
greetings …

Before all this –
opening entrance to pen,
spreading grit, placing pellets, water
on metal struts
topping up dust-bath with a spade of soil
for their pleasure …

I speak endearing murmurings
mellow as sunrise
a sough, a susurration …
awakenings should be gentle of nature
shouldn’t they?

I open our back door – she rushes out –
a seven-year-old pup bounces to see –
chickens line beaks along the wire, a
chorus-girl of chicks meeting black nose
pressed close …
the dog dances, pirouettes excitedly,
checks perimeter fence –
new smells …

I sit on bench
mackintosh atop dressing-gown
bare feet in wellingtons …


their movements lack fluidity
each step a jerk, a twist and
stretch of neck,
they peer, flap wings
are fat with cluck and croon

are all that they should be;

Joy is not necessarily
born of glamour and gloss
can be
an alarm clock in the dark
a groan
and cold rain and
when spade is spent of load
and pellets, grit and water placed for ease of reach

joy can be the simple
lifting of a latch.

Helen Barratt (copyright Helen Barratt 2020

yasmingibson says:

Hi Helen,

Thank you for sharing your lovely poem with us.

Could you please email to discuss potentially using it for one of our upcoming newsletters (with full credit, of course).

Kind regards,

Fiona says:

Hi Rosie, glad to hear your ex-battery girls are settling in well. I don’t want to alarm you but red kites frequently make off with chickens. There would be no other reason it was circling your girls. I would keep them in a covered enclosure. It would be such a shame to lose a couple of them when they have just had their first taste of freedom. I have had buzzards overhead circling my girls and only today I had to cover their free ranging area with netting. Took me the whole morning but worth it to know they are safe from airborne predators. All the best with these beautiful ladies.

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