When we first got chickens, about five years ago, I had to solemnly promise my husband that no chickens would be allowed to roam free. It was his greatest fear that patients would have to battle chickens on the ramp leading to his office, and he didn't think that conveyed a particularly professional medical image.
For the first few years of having chickens, they were strictly locked up in the coop. But we relented over time. Two years ago, we let them out for increasingly longer periods. We finally worked our way up to all day, every day. Everything was fine as long as we locked them up at night (mass carnage if we didn't). They stayed strictly near the barn and back pastures, and no patient was the wiser to their existence.
Lately, however, they have been pushing the boundaries.
It started with the patient parking lot. Patients would come in, talking about negotiating around the chickens to get into a parking spot, and I would be deputized to shoo them back towards the barn.
This morning was the final straw, however. For whatever reason, they decided to take a break perched on the lab pickup boxes right next to the office entrance. A helpful diagram for you to appreciate the problem:
Unfortunately for them, my LSH is not a vet, or their presence might have fit better with the ambiance of the office. Confinement is probably for the best anyway, as we have spotted a fox in broad daylight twice in the last week.