Monday, April 13, 2009

Sequestered


It had to happen sooner or later. I knew this day was coming. The day the hens could no longer free range.
For the last year the girls have had free run of the place during the day and locked up safe at night. Our small farm is fully fenced with field fencing and the hens never scratched beyond the line. I knew I was on borrowed time...or should I say they were on borrowed time. But every morning they stood at the front of their coop begging to get out and every morning I let them out because I had gotten complacent. Nothing bad had ever happened.
Until today.
I was met at the gate by the neighbor and her boy. A few of the hens were over in their fenced yard. The chickens had gone through two fences and several lots to get there.
And their dog had killed one of my Silver-Laced Wyandottes.
I went over and 3 hens were trapped behind the fence, knowing the way they needed to go to get home but unable to get back over the fence.
The lot was heavily wooded at one end and the hens kept diving into the heavy underbrush to get away. So with the help of an over-enthusiastic 12 year old boy and his very kind mother, we proceeded to herd those confused hens in the pouring down rain. Time after time they got around us and dove back in the woods. After about an hour of this I was pretty discouraged and wanted to give up. I told the lady that they could just find their own way home. But the neighbor smiled sweetly and said she would like to let her dog out sometime tonight and really didn't want her killing anymore chickens.
So back into the woods I dove.
I apologized profusely and told them that they could go back into the house and I would keep working on it...remember it's pouring down cold, cold rain....and the twelve year old was screwing up my chicken herding.
But once again she smiled sweetly and said that they weren't doing anything anyway since the baseball practice was called on account of rain and they would be happy to help.
So while I barked orders we, like a well oiled machine, herded those chickens through the woods, across the field, and out the gate. As the boy closed the gate and I chased the girls down the road with a stick I thanked them for all their help and assured them that the girls were going to be locked up from now on.
It was a hard lesson...especially for the Wyandotte....but a lesson I knew I needed to learn. Not only did I lose a great little hen, I bothered a family that just wanted to get on with their evening and not see their beloved Daisy kill one of Mrs. W's pet chickens.
I think I owe them a dozen eggs!

10 comments:

Clare said...

Too bad chickens don't read boundaries, right? Hard lesson to swallow, but hopefully all will be safe now... hope you had a good Easter!

Elizabeth said...

The starting line of your post hit home here. We have 5 little dogs
(7-9 lb. range) who love to play outside in their fenced in area. We always stay outside with them because of hawks. We have been here in SE Pa. for almost 9 years and never had a problem, until now. My daughter was in the storage shed going through boxes & didn't see her dog (schug) sneek outside. My daughter finished, came inside with Schug where I noticed Schug was limping. We were checking her hind leg when I noticed that my daughters shirt had blood all over it. We found puncture wounds from a hawk all over Schugs little body. Evidently the hawk was a young one and couldn't lift off with her. Since all of our dogs look like little wooly black lambs we didn't initially see the blood. Thank God she is ok. She has healed up nicely. I however still have nightmares.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

But...but...I'm confused. How did they get through your fencing? Did all of them they really fly over it? Or is field fencing wide enough that they just jumped through?
I'm so sorry, Wendy - this is just so sad. Tough lesson. Ugh.

Barbee' said...

Oh, the trials and tribulations. Sorry it happened.

Marigold said...

I am very sad for your chicken. It would seem you have very nice neighbors. The goatmother read 'Elizabeth's' comment and said, "OMG!", thinking, of course, about an eagle trying to carry off the Cabrarator. I am so sorry this happened. A Peanut for you, my friend!

Adrianna said...

I have my chickens in a fenced area thats 4 feet high. They never escape I cut their wings so they can't fly just like I clip my parrots wings.

goatgirl said...

OK everyone the part of the story I left out is that yes I have it fenced to 5 feet or so but the neighbor on one side has a very tiny dog "Pickles" that can fit through my fence and he comes through and has been chasing my chickens. He has plucked a few. They (bad neighbor) know this is happening but don't remedy the problem...LIKE A FENCE....that contains little dogs. So I am almost sure that Pickles was in my farm and chased those girls right down the street into the other neighbor's fenced yard where her dog Daisy killed poor Lacy.
And for some reason the chickens can get over the fence in a panic but can't figure out how to get back over the fence to get home. They just keep walking up and down and sticking their heads through the wire.
I am pretty sure that is what happened.

And Marigold....I know...I thought of Cabra too. What a good lesson for the goatmother. Just have Cabra wear her sweater...you know the one...the one with the large crocheted flowers. I don't think hawks like flowers.
Thanks Elizabeth for reminding the goatmother.

Elizabeth said...

Goatgirl,
We have a similar situation here. I never want to hurt or injure an animal, BUT when they stray on my property and go after my animals you just have to do something. We found a BB gun that shoots PLASTIC BB'S, so it doesn't hurt the animal it just startles them & makes them think hmmm? maybe I don't want to come over here anymore..... It doesn't have enough power to hurt or injure, I was very specific about not wanting that to happen. The kids have actually shot each other with it, even though the instructions specificallly say not to do this..sigh.....

Wrensong Farm said...

Yeah....it's funny how they don't seem to be happy with just staying around home. I was told guineas have a 5 acre range....so I thought, good, I have 5 acres, they should stay home, right? I have now decided it must be 5 acres in either direction from your five acres. sigh. Sorry to hear about your loss. :(

Amy said...

can you make them a covered run that moves? like the cat runs some people make?!