Outsmarted by a chicken…

4 05 2008

Last night I was doing my evening rounds before dinner (and then we watched Lars and the Real Girl–if you haven’t seen it, you should. It was awesome.), and noticed that the bigger chickens in the outside coop needed water. So, I pulled the hanging bucket off the string, and went back outside the coop to fill it up. I set it on the ground outside the coop door, pushed the door closed, put the hose into the bucket, and walked over to the house to turn on the faucet. I stood next to the faucet the whole time because I knew the second that I walked back over to the bucket, I would just have to turn back around to turn the faucet off. Once the bucket was full (I saw some water overflowing from the edge), I turned off the water and walked back over to the coop. This is when I saw 4 chickens had pushed the door open and were wandering in the area OUTSIDE their coop–not the fenced in outside area, but in the yard. You see, I didn’t think I needed to latch the door, because why would chickens push open the door? I immediately regretted my oversight. Especially since not one dog, but both dogs were outside in the yard as well. Before they were able to see the chickens, and as calmly as I could, I called out to Kirby who was in the kitchen getting ready to make dinner– “Hey, Kirby, could you give me a hand?” “Yeah!” I hear from inside. She opens the door, and I say, “There is a chicken out. Can you please get the dogs inside?” She calls the dogs, and they go running before they have any idea about the fun they could be having, which makes me breath a small sigh of relief.

BUT–I still have to figure out how to get the chickens back into the coop. They were a little freaked out at tis point and wouldn’t really let me near them. They had made their way around the side of the coop and were on the other side of where the outside run area was, and were trying to fit through the fencing to be with their flock-mates. Kirby had come back outside to help, and had grabbed a handful of weeds to offer as bait to lure them close.

Let me just say, this is one of the MANY times we have had around here thus far where I kind of wish a documentary film crew was around. Granted I would totally be the person chasing around livestock as has happened in countless films and TV shows about the inexperienced city dweller moving to the country, but still. This was worth catching on film. You guys would have paid to see this.

I went around to the end of the run area to try and force them back towards the door, which works until they realize they can go under the coop. This is when I curse the fact that Ben and I decided not to close off this area. With Kirby on one side, and me on the other, they won’t come out, so I backed away and they came out my side and I was able to get them around towards the door. Only to see that another 3 chickens have made their way out in the meantime. I began cursing my stupidity in leaving the door open, because why wouldn’t they rest of the chickens have the same idea the first group did… But I was trying to make it easier to get them back inside. They all veered away from the coop and start to go up the hill, but Kirby cut them off, and they made a beeline towards the coop door. WHEW! All inside…except 2. Who promptly ran around the side of the coop, and under it.

Now what?, I kept thinking to myself. How in the hell do I corral 2 birds in a backyard with almost no boundaries? And I kept being so thankful that the dogs were safely away because I could not have handled dead birds. So, I end up chasing the birds around the coop/run area in it’s entirety a few times, and they kept trying frantically to push themselves through the fence into the run, and Kirby was trying to act as a counterpoint to my movements to sandwich them between us so they could be grabbed, but they kept slipping through. I finally ended up snagging the Rhode Island hen, and carried her back around to the closed (and latched!) door, and then it was just the poor rooster left. A couple more times around the coop, he stayed underneath it for a while with either of us on a side trying to lure/force him out, and then we finally caught him, too.

All in all, I think this whole escapade only took 15-20 minutes, but it felt way longer than that. And now I have learned something else not to do.

These are all the tomatoes I was talking about:


Our last frost date is approaching very rapidly, so soon these guys will be headed to the real outside within the next couple weeks. This, as you can imagine, means even more work than usual for us. We have to plow under more of the land, amend the soil with compost, fertilizer, and lime, and pull all the obvious weeds out at the very least. Chad may want to subsoil as well. And we have to do enough land to plant tomatoes, peppers, summer and winter squashes, beans, sunflowers, amaranth, and more corn! Yikes…Anyone wanna come out here, like around tomorrow?




One response

9 05 2008

Don’t forget the PUMPKINS, and more herbs and the green beans, etc.!! The fun has just begun! Can’t wait for this sunny, supreme, deluxe,veggie-growing weather to FINALLY BE HERE!!

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