On Thursday 1st April we were permitted by DEFRA to release our chickens back into their field. It has been difficult for them over the past fifteen and a half weeks (after 16 weeks we would not have been allowed to market their eggs as "free range" anymore), despite us constructing some spacious netted outdoor runs (they are usually free to roam throughout one hectare), and there have been more fights, more injuries and more fatalities as a result.
Thankfully DEFRA stuck to their planned release date despite two new avian flu outbreaks in the northwest of England. The nearest cases to us were in Exmouth in Devon last year, although there were reports of swans in Falmouth dying of bird flu in January. Anyway, we are all very glad to see them out and about enjoying the grass and sunshine and space and insects of their field.
|The bare patch in this picture was where their outdoor enclosure was before we took it down. All the grass was gone within a few days back in December.|
|A few of the new girls also getting out and about for the first time in their lives.|