Clearly, spring has arrived here in Central Vermont. Signs are everywhere: the sun has warmth and strength, snow is melting, the sap is running, new birds at our feeder, the brook is rushing, Geese heading north, muddy roads and our chickens are venturing out from the hoop house.
Spring, at least early spring in our part of the world, still has cold nights (and sometimes cold snowy days too) and snow covered areas. But, the snow has melted under trees and at the edge of paths and driveways and on warm afternoons are chickens are drawn there.
The chickens, like many Vermonters, have spring fever. Thrilled to get out of the hoop house, which is pretty posh winter living, and scratch in the leaf litter and the dirt to find....Well, I don't know exactly what they are finding, bugs and grubs and seeds I suppose. But whatever they are finding is making them VERY happy.
One warm afternoon this week, I returned from the Barn to find 5 hens on the slate patio at the front door...of the house. It is a warm sunny spot, but otherwise surrounded by snow (which the chickens do not like to cross). It was as if they had arrived for an afternoon snack, at the house. Apparently, the open ground near the hoop house wasn't enough. Perhaps they knew we still had some winter squash in the basement. I let them be for awhile, soaking in some sun on the patio for myself too, before I herded them back across the snowy yard and back toward the hoop house. Soon enough, they will be back out pasturing on our fields full time.