Friday, 20 January 2012

Our free ranger chicken

Our 5 chickens have settled well into their chicken run since we got them in the autumn last year. To protect them from foxes, the fence around the run is 2 metres high. The hens' wings are clipped so theoretically, they shouldn't be able to get out of the run. Snow White, our coral nick, however, has discovered how to fly even with clipped wings. A number of times now I have found her wandering around the allotment though she always rushes over to the gate to greet me (or more likely see if I have any food for her). So she doesn't wander off though I discovered today that yesterday, one of the neighbouring allotment holders found her on the path outside the allotment. He picked her up and put her back in the chicken run.

That was not what she had initially escaped from. Yesterday morning, I had put her in the fruit cage which has a 2 metre high frame with netting though we had removed the roof as a precaution against snow damage. Somehow through the day she had managed to escape from that. She doesn't go far. Her main concern is to explore the immediate locality to forage for food.

The danger however is that she is vulnerable to foxes if not in the chicken run or fruit cage. So we are going to have to check her wings and clip them again.


Shreela said...

I've never seen a fox around my area or heard others say they've seen them. But since taking in our former neighbor's chickens, our biggest threat have been racoons! My other neighbors didn't believe racoons were attacking until I told them that I SAW the raccoon chasing one of our chickens during the night after hearing ruckus and squawking. Later I heard ruckus again, and that chicken was no more.

I hate that I am learning as I go as far as keeping chickens, especially learning that cute and seemingly smart raccoons can be threats to small animals (perhaps our drought made the raccoons more desperate).

Our remaining chickens found safety in a tree with somewhat small branches that apparently won't hold a raccoon (freezes are somewhat rare where I live). I'm wondering if I could lure the chickens into a pen using sunflower seeds or crickets? But I'd have to study to make sure the pen was safe from raccoons getting inside. I'd feel even worse if I trapped the chickens in an unsafe pen.

These chickens won't let anyone get close enough to catch them - they'll come about two feet away during feed time.

Anonymous said...

Maybe Houdini would have been a better name? Jules

Jonathan Wallace said...

Hello Jules. We have already called one of our hens Houdini. One the day we got her, we found her roosting on the top of the fence rather than in the henhouse. If she had jumped down to the other side of teh fence, she would have been free to wander as she pleased before she got to know her own home territory.