Chicken Wanderlust

Posted: December 3, 2012 in Urban farming

Reposted from our original blog in memory of Veco, our lovely barred rock.

Many books state that chickens are really good about staying close to their coop. They don’t run away like a dog chasing a cat or a squirrel or a raccoon or an endangered brown pelican. Chickens are homebodies. They prefer the security of their known world, particularly if that known world involves dried mealworms. So, when, I went into the backyard one day and it was free of any chickens whatsoever, I was gobsmacked. My first thought, “oh, crap, I’ve lost Bryn’s chickens”. Since we had just given one of her chickens away, as he was a rooster and not a hen, I was pretty concerned that the six year old would be even more upset if all the chickens were suddenly gone. Truth be told, I would be upset if all the chickens were suddenly gone…and there was no roast chicken for dinner. I looked all over the postage stamp sized yard. No stupid chickens. Double crap.

I went inside, retrieved my glasses, grabbed the car keys, and headed out the front door. I was at the car when I realized, well, this is dumb. They are chickens. What the hell am I getting in the car for? They can’t possibly have gone far. At that moment, I heard a low cluck. My head snapped around and I saw Ms. Fancy peering out from behind the back fence. She was in the yard of Most Hated Neighbor. Triple crap. Well, I decided that I didn’t particularly care if the female half of Most Hated Neighbor was out and about. I was going to get my chickens back. I stamped over to the yard. The male half of Most Hated Neighbor was in his garage, oblivious as usual, playing with his power tools. And Veco and Ms. Fancy were happily mucking about in their little copse of trees on the edge of their property. So, I leaned over to grab Ms. Fancy. She scuttled away. As did Veco. Apparently, they liked Most Hated Neighbor’s front yard. Stupid chickens. I chased them about the yard for a few minutes, bent over, knees out, looking completely ridiculous. Either the male half of Most Hated Neighbor never noticed or he was afraid to approach the crazy chicken lady from next door.

I gave up on the chasing. Duh. Ms. Fancy will come when she’s called, I thought. So, I walked back to the yard whistling for Ms. Fancy. She clucked and started following. I grabbed the carton of meal worms and rattled it. Lo! It was a chicken stampede! They flew back into the yard. I fed them meal worms, clipped their wings, and moved the trash cans away from the low fence. Clearly, we need a little fence reinforcement, but there has yet to be another jail break. Fingers crossed. We just have to be smarter than the chickens.

Veco, headed for some treat

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