I spend a lot of time debating the pros and cons of various forms of design. I started the chickens out inside an electric fence. They had around a 1200 square foot area to roam, but before long, they were getting out to explore the greater area. Of course I had the urge to protect them at all costs. I kept putting them back in the fence. When we were in the city, it was appropriate and safe to confine them due to roaming dogs, cars and to just generally prevent them to wrecking someone else’s property. Here they have several acres to roam and lots of overhead cover from the hawks. So I took the fence down, deciding instead to fence in my garden and let the birds do their thing freely. This time around we have a rooster and he does a remarkable job of staying alert, protecting and communicating with the hens. So in exchange for being willing to relinquish a bit of control, I get the joy of seeing the birds explore field and forest. They have a routine and a route and today they discovered that hanging around the human while he sifts topsoil results in snacks galore. They’re consistent about returning to the coop at dusk and so far no one is hiding their eggs in random locations. By my nature, I can be a control freak and worrier. These six birds are teaching me the concepts of patience, trust and faith.