There are many ways to run a farm efficiently and with small amounts of time committed to doing it. You can be quick about your animals, automate what you can, but I personally always commit a bit of time each day to free ranging the chickens.
I can tell you all the reasons why free ranging chickens is a good thing. The health benefits they receive when they are out on the green meadow grass, chomping down on bugs, and dust bathing on the sandy bank, but in all truth, I free range chickens for my OWN health and wellness, more than theirs.
First off, the joy of “opening the gates” as you see these little armless beasties waddling towards you and the open meadow. The enjoyment of bringing something (or someone) something wonderful. The joy of watching them BURST out onto the grass, grabbing select mouthfuls as they run to the most robust area.
And then it is “supervising” them while they are free ranging. Keeping a watch for predators from the sky, my face tilted back to enjoy the sunshine. Supervision is always done best when sitting in a comfortable chair, or even lying on a blanket in the grass.
Oh, and being surrounded by industrious fowl is a thing of beauty. As I lie there and empty my mind, meditating on the issues of my day, these little birds are creating fresh eggs for my breakfast, AND adding their manure to my meadow! It really is the win-win-win.
It is a moment in my day where I must be fully vacant to fully enjoy the experience. I can’t bring anything with me as I let them out to the meadow, and our wifi doesn’t reach that far. It is just me, and them, and perhaps a cold drink with the sun shining on us.
They provide me this one chance to free range my own mind each day. A moment to do nothing, but to monitor the free range chickens, a very important job after all.
When our moment is done and the day needs to progress they file one by one back through the gate to their coop. Now, even in that space they have ample opportunity to range on a 1/4 acre, but the terrain is nothing like the meadow. They move back into that zone in just the same manner that I walk myself up the hill to the house. I go back to dishes, and emails, laundry and lists, but the one taste of my moment free ranging the chickens in the meadow remains, and I apply myself to my workload looking forward to tomorrow.
When I can again, free range the chickens… and free range myself.