Well, for the last week or so, I've been letting the chicken roam about as they please in the backyard. They are (mostly) unsupervised during the day, though I check on them often. They are now 7 weeks old. I've decided that although I would be crushed if a predator attacked one of them, I'd be even more crushed if they weren't allowed to live their "chicken-lives to the fullest". Each day they wander further and further from their coop...and so does their poop :). But our backyard is fully enclosed in a 6-7 foot fence all the way around, so they can't get too far. At first I was trying to keep them out of the raised beds, but finally I gave up. Eventually, I'll probably buy some movable fencing and section them off in various places around the yard. But for now, they are ruling the roost and backyard for that matter.
They seem to like the partial shade and rolly pollies that are in the raised beds.
Here's (from left to right) Savannah (Welsummer), Buffy (Buff Orpington), and Lucy (Barred Rock). They enjoy eating carrot leaves.
A close up of Buffy (the Buff Orpington). She's the largest so far and is the least interested in me and what I'm doing.
Here is Goldilocks (Ameraucana). She and Savannah like to fly up onto the arm of my chair and hang out from time to time.
Here is Lucy (Barred Rock). She likes to always run up to me and see what I'm doing. She loves treats the most! Sometimes she will fly up onto my knee, but she's not a fan of being held.
This is Bella (Brahma). She the smallest of the flock and is almost solid black, except for a few white spots. She's a curious girl and often does her own thing. She will let me hold her most of the time without squawking.