Perhaps one of the more iconic scenes of rural americana is a flock of fluffy, colorful chickens pecking away in the green grass. Nowadays, having backyard chickens is becoming popular for both country and urban dwellers.
But for the enthusiastic (perhaps slightly over-attached) chicken owner, the idea of free ranging your flock can come with a touch of anxiety. The benefits of free ranging your chickens are undeniable, from the obvious advantages such as fresh air, abundant sunshine and exercise, and an all you can eat buffet of bugs and plants to the more subtle things like a healthier development of social flock structures.
Chickens have dozens of different calls and vocalizations. The freedom of free ranging allows your flock to fully develop a more natural and complex flock order. Not to mention the joys of watching “chickens in the wild” and observing their individual personalities and discovering the significance of their many different vocalizations. The throaty/happy alert call my Roo sends to the hens to signify that a tasty treat has been found is one of my favorites!
The rare chicken breed industry thrives on two things; importation and creation. The most well know importer of rare breed chickens is Greenfire farms, with over 70 imports since 2010. Consequently, the rare breed trade has experienced a boom from all the great new breeds and new color varieties of existing breeds. With that in mind, it makes me wonder what will be the future of the industry once the pool of new breeds left to import get slimmer. My answer to that is simply projects/creations. There are endless possibilities with all the existing chicken genetics in the world. One could hypothetically make a new breed or color variety in as little as 4 generations, which works out to be about 2-3 years. How cool would it be to see a breed you created in the backyards of hundreds of hobbyists around the country or even world? In my opinion it’s not only a cool idea, it’s absolutely vital to the rare chicken trade.