They've been restricted to the henhouse, 8'X10', and run, 10'X12', for a month now. I installed interesting roosts in the run. Their behavior is calm, and they appear contented. Can I keep them like this?
I have the same size run. It may be good to keep throwing scraps of veggies, a tomatoe in there, scratch, anything to keep their interest. (you may already do this) I tuck brocolli stems in the hardware cloth when they start to look bored. Since they live to forage, I chop up veggies and scatter them all over the run so they have something to look for. They get all excited!
Yes indeed I do. I have a feeder and waterer inside the coop, but keep a dish of water in the run. Twice a day I put a quart of mash in a large clay plate, and they love this. Twice a day I also throw in a couple of bunches of what I think is some kind of sorrel -- it looks like clover with yellow flowers, but I don't think it is technically clover. They love this also, and start hopping around when they see me coming. Do you let your chickens out of the run?
I let my chickens out of their run in the evening. I work until 6:00pm, so they get to free range in the yard for a hour or two before dark. (closer to an hour now with the coming of fall ) They put themselves back in the coop as it nears dusk. If your concerned about your girls returning to the coop, evening is a great time to start letting them out...they won't go to far in an hour or so before they go to bed. And they really love exploring the grass, woods edge, etc looking for bugs, grass, and interesting berries!
If you have a veggie garden that is almost done, you could fill a few 5 gallon buckets of garden soil from it, and put it in their run. They love to scratch and polk around in fresh soil. After they have done with it, throw it back in the buckets and put it back in the garden. Usually it is better soil, pest/weed free, and maybe a tad more nitrogen.
Simply repeat the procedure from different areas of the garden, on an ongoing basis. Your garden, and your hens, will thank you for it..
I worry all the time about my hens being bored since they can't free-range. I put high-protein birdseed out, and scratch it into their chip so they have stuff to look for all day. I sprinkle grass clippings around the run. I cut tree branches and stick them through the run sides so they can pull off leaves. In the winter they get hanging cabbages. There is also grape rugby, piles of leaves, piles of weeds, corn cob fest....I feel like a cruise recreation director now.....