They come and go in and out of the coop all day if the door is open to their yard. I really want to begin free ranging them, but I'm afraid they may get hit by a car - our road is rather busy and the cars move at 40 mph or faster (usually faster) - I'm also worried they may wander into the neighbor's yards - we have 2 acres, but the lot is narrow and neighbors on both sides. The yard on either side in between houses is heavily wooded and I'm hoping they won't go through. I know ultimately I have to just let go and take the risk, but I love my cheeckens and they are still young yet.
We found a family farm about an hour north of here that processes poultry through Thanksgiving and even have chicks and poults (baby turkeys). I've been wanting to get some more chicks for the freezer, but mail order is so expensive and many places have minimums of 25. I want 6-10, but the places that will sent that few charge more for shipping then for chicks. Driving an hour may be well worth it to have no antibiotic, naturally fed, free range chicken.
The rest of our "homestead" is really languishing a bit - I have carpal tunnel and am having a hard time doing many of things I enjoy including this blog and my gardening. The kids have been helping out as has my hubby, but it just isn't the same. I did with the help of hubby make some jars of rosemary olive oil to give as gifts this holiday season, so that was fun - using up the surplus is nice. At least something will have surplus.