Friday, July 10, 2009

One smart chicken out of 11

I'm going to have to give one of my chickens a name. Either she's just very affectionate or she's smart and knows if she's nice to me we won't eat her. I can promise, we won't. She's a barred rock hen. Last night James and I held her in our laps for 10 minutes or so while we scratched and petted her. She had no intention of getting down. I can't tell her apart from the other 3 barred rocks except she's friendlier. Most of the other chickens were outside their smaller fence in the pasture area pecking at volunteer pumpkins that are growing in our horse manure/compost pile.

The sun was quickly setting, the time when chickens head back to their pen for the night. The chickens realized they were on the other side of their fence and couldn't figure out how to get back in by following the fenceline the way they got there in the first place. I kind of wish I had this on video. The stupid chickens walk back and forth, back and forth along the fence trying to squeeze through little holes, which they can't. I tried catching them and throwing them over the fence. No chance. I tried getting food so they'd follow me. Some of them did, as did all the goats who kept jumping on me trying to get the food. I was getting frustrated. Finally, there were just 2 left on the other side, one australorp hen and Puck, the rooster. Even though we clipped the hen's wings she was strong enough to fly over the fence back to safety. The rooster saw her do it but still ran up and down the fenceline, 10 feet one way and back 10 feet. James came outside to help me. I know, I should have just left him there but he looked and sounded so desperate. The 2 of us cornered him and I caught him. He screamed but looked relieved to be back in his smaller fence. He ran in circles around his pen but couldn't find his way in. If he was a hen and we were going to eat our chickens he would have been the first on my plate last night. Sheesh!

They'll do it again tonight. Sometimes they find their way back, sometimes they don't. We need to figure out how to fix this problem before we have to go out of town and ask someone else to take care of our pets. Any suggestions? It would be nice if they were all tame like _________________(whatever I'm going to name her), then I could catch them or they'd follow me where I want them to go like the Pied Piper.

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