One of our hens has an obsession with flying up to the gate of the chicken pen and then over so that she can wander around in the yard and garden, pecking at bugs and such where she pleases. Sometimes she even convinces another hen or two to join her in her adventures. While this hasn’t been the end of the world all winter, I foresaw that we were going to have problems when we planted the garden. Unfortunately, I am too selfish to share my garden veggies with the chickens while they are still in the garden. We have clipped their wings and done everything we can to keep her and her petticoat brigade where they belong, all to no avail!
You probably are wondering if we will make chicken dumplings or fried chicken out of her, but we don’t eat our chickens. We raise them and keep them for their eggs. Right now out of 12 hens, we are getting 5-6 eggs per day, largely because of fluctuating temperatures from below freezing to a predicted 70°F this weekend. With everything turning green and growing, you can’t really blame her for wanting to get to the greener grass on the other side, but I’m not willing to share seeds and seedlings in the very near future.
Thankfully DH and DS have been hard at work trying to get in a taller more permanent fence to “number her days” of escaping. The new fence is outside the old fence at the moment. There are 4×4″ posts set in concrete with 2×2″ slats over 2″ chicken fence that is 6 feet tall. In the picture below, you can see the beginnings. There will hopefully be another 2×2″ slat down below and dirt piled up and packed down along the base of the fence. The bottom of the fence is in a trench that is 6″ deep and has 2″ of concrete with the fence set in it. The dirt will go over that. A nice sturdy 6 foot gate will replace the one that she has so carefully gone over.
You can see the shorter fence inside. DS has plans to take it out so that Ms. Hennie Penny cannot use it to get up to the top of the taller fence and get out. He is so looking forward to not having to chase her back in.
Tonight she did get out through the gap where the gate will ultimately go and when I went out to chase her back she ended up between the two fences instead of going back in. She looked up at the taller fence like, “Where did that come from? I don’t think I can get over that to escape the crazy lady!” I was finally able to get her back to the gate after she tried all kinds of ways to get through the shorter fence back into the pen. Silly chicken!