Tuesday, November 5

Chickens (they don't listen)

Chickens are not only the 'gateway livestock animal', they also seem to be preparing me for raising teenagers.
A few of my new girls have decided that they are rebels at heart and escape the fencing every chance they get.
I was doing really well with them staying put for most of the summer, even to the point where I became a little lax in my net covering with the portable fencing. I was happy to have a nice, calm flock of proper ladies.
I knew it was too good to be true, and just like with every other instance here I must be jolted back into 'over-doing-it-just-in-case' mode. I moved the portable fencing the other day to give them access to fresh grass and to let the over-grazed areas recover. It is fall and the leaves are coming down and the green growing things are about to call it quits for the winter, so I wanted them to have as much space as I could. Given that I have become trusting of my girls, I made a big area for them with no netting on top. It took me about a half hour and they were thrilled.
I then moved on to clearing the rest of the dead materials from parts of the garden. Imagine my surprise when three hens walked past me as if out for an afternoon stroll. Which, in fact, they were.
At least they are still giving me eggs.
I spent the next 15 minutes chasing, cornering and catching three unruly hens and depositing them back in the pen. I told them, in my best parental voice "don't do that again."
This is where I saw my future. I saw my little girl as a defiant teenager climbing out of her bedroom window to meet her delinquent boyfriend (that she only likes because I don't like him) and terrorize the local townsfolk with loud cars and rock music. "Don't do that again" I say to her as I find her climbing back into her bedroom window at 4am.
I envision her listening about as well as my chickens do.
A few minutes later more hens strolled past so I gave up, got the all in the coop, drastically shrunk the size of the portable fence area, slapped some netting over the top, let the girls back out to the substantially smaller accommodations and called it a day.
Tough love.

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