The only thing I was worried about with keeping backyard hens was my dog’s reaction.
Hurley is fast, and has the highest prey drive I’ve ever seen in a dog. I’ve watched this dog snatch low flying birds out of the air, and found countless headless carcasses in my backyard. I stopped feeding birds in the backyard for this very reason.
Before letting these chicks out into their run on a trial basis, Hurley managed to snatch a fledgling sparrow. I yelled, she dropped it, and it hopped away while she looked ashamed. With that fresh in my mind, I was incredibly nervous about the prospect of her reaction to seeing large, tasty looking birds hopping around on the ground right in front of her (albeit separated by a fence).
Looks like all my worrying was unfounded.
I’m counting myself lucky. I think these birds spent enough time in the house and around me that they’re exempt from the normal backyard prey menu.