Thursday, August 30, 2007

the chickens escaped the yard!

We live in a part of the country that gets hot during the day and cool at night, so we sleep with our windows open to take advantage of this natural A/C. A side benefit:I wake up each morning to the sound of birds chirping and dogs barking and chickens clucking.

I woke up this morning to the sound of a couple of unhappy chickens in the backyard. They weren't making an agitated "get me the heck out of here" sound, but they were clearly voicing their displeasure at being cooped up for some reason.

Before anyone else in the house could wake up, I stole downstairs and outside to let the girls do a bit of free-ranging in the backyard before I went to work. They were more than happy to get out and showed their joy by stretching their legs with a lap around the backyard before settling into the seek-and-eat formation of side-by-side examination of every square foot of organic material for greens and bugs. We've got tall fences on all sides, so I'm not concerned about their flying into any neighbor's yards (tho I should clip their wings soon). The only way they could conceivably get out of the yard would be to go down a long narrow side yard to the cast iron gate and squeeze under it. In three months of free-rangings, they've never even attempted to start down that yard, let alone make it to the gate.

So I thought nothing of leaving the girls out back and going inside to shower, eat, etc, putting them in the coop on my way to work.

Imagine my surprise when Left Coast Mom returned from walking our daughter to Kindergarten to find the chickens in our front yard. Yep, they made the long walk up to the gate and scooted right under it to start poking around the driveway. Luckily, they seemed too dazed by the fact there's a whole 'nother WORLD out front to try and escape further. With a couple swoops of the arm, Left Coast Mom herded them back under the gate and into the back yard. I used some fresh lettuce leaves to coax them into the Eglu run and they've been cooped up all day (that I know of).

Now, I'll have to craft a movable fence to keep them from repeating their escape next time they free range. I hate to think I'll have to supervise them closely from here on out.

I'll have to watch Chicken Run again to see what's next up in their plans for the great escape.


rama said...

thats been one of my 2 fears with raising chickens in my backyard as well. that and raccoons/cats.

brad said...

How much space was there under the gate that they squeezed into? Our gates go pretty low, so I hope the chickens can't get under them.

ThomasK said...

Well, I can't say the gate hasn't been an item of concern for a while. There's a good 8-inch gap under the gate (and about 6 inches in between the bars of the gate). Am trying to figure out how to chicken-proof the thing without making it ugly. Likely, I'll have to block their access to the side yard altogether at the back of the house.


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