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Unmanageable chickens

There are three escaped chickens in the circle — Josephine, Fanny and Fiona.

First it was only Josephine who was escaping from the chicken fence. Then she taught Fanny, Fiona, and Helen how to do it. Evangeline, the rooster, has never escaped, nor has Patience. The rooster is just too dumb, I think. And Patience is from an older, more proper generation of chickens for whom such behavior is unthinkable. Patience had a solid, old-fashioned upbringing.

I still am not certain how they’re doing it. And I soon discovered that, not only can they get out, they also can get back in. This goes on many times a day now. I’ve stopped rushing out to scoop up escaped chickens. What good does it do? I thought it better to try to keep an eye on them to try to catch one of them in flagrante delicto and discover their secret passage.

One of the things I’ve dreaded is that a chicken would find herself trapped outside the fence at dusk. Tonight that happened. Josephine was running back and forth along the bottom of the fence on the woods side, frantic to get back inside, calling out in fear and frustration, after everyone else had gone into the chicken house to go to bed. On the woods side, the fence is up against a thick thicket of briars, blackberry, and poison oak. There’s just no way I’d go in there to retrieve her. I tried to entice her toward the gate, but every time we got near the corner of the fence she’d turn and run back into the thicket. I thought that if I watched her long enough, she’d eventually find her way inside and reveal her secret as well.

After throwing herself repeatedly against the fence in a state of panic, finally she started to climb, with those strong chicken feet. Up she went, as though climbing a ladder, all the way up six feet of welded wire fence. Then she perched on top, holding tight as the fencing wagged in and out. After she got her balance, she flew down into the orchard. Then she strode, clucking and grumbling, up to the chicken house and flew inside.

Now what in the world am I going to do with a bunch of fence-climbing chickens?

Seriously, this is Ken’s doing. He trained them to be curious and bold, and sassy but sweet, to question authority, to push their boundaries. And while Ken is off somewhere pushing his own boundaries, here I am trying to round up rebellious, fence-climbing chickens and get them safely to bed.

Ken, maybe chickens that like to climb fences would enjoy a long hike? I could overnight them by Fedex…

One Comment

  1. David L.M. Marcum wrote:

    This is what comes of overly liberal up-bringing. If counseling and firm discipline do not work, a strict boarding coop may be the best solution (where someone else can guide them through their rebellious years). And if they persist in their rebellious ways — military school! It may already be too late for young Josephine, but the others may yet be turned around.

    No decent family should have to bear the humiliation of seing their fallen hen out on the stroll, showing too much leg and clucking at strangers for chicken feed to take home to her large brood because the flashy Bantam from the other side of the thicket with whom she “took up” when she ran away is a shiftless layabout.


    Sunday, September 9, 2012 at 10:16 pm | Permalink

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