Thursday, 2 April 2009

The Great Escape

Yesterday was glorious here, blue skies and bright sunshine. The kind of weather that demands that you go outside to enjoy it. Also the kind of weather which shows up just how much your flower borders are suffering because of chickenny attention. Hmm. I'm a keen gardener, so the sight of trampled and nibbled favourite plants nearly sent me over the edge. The girls sat there looking at me, heads on one side, as I bemoaned the state of my tulips and the lack of foliage on my lupins. Once I'd finished this pointless telling off, they wandered off to drop manure on the lawn and to eat something else I was fond of. Enough is enough.

Determined not to spend a fortune on netting, I decided to improvise and aquired some garden netting and some bamboo canes. I marked off the area that I was happy for them to munch/poo in/dig up, and set about erecting my DIY fence. The hens watched with interest, occassionally coming over to cluck conversationally and peck at the netting. I struggled with getting the netting to stay up, and I struggled even more in getting the canes into the hard clay soil. Eventually, it was done.

I stood back to admire my handiwork, certain that now I could have some flowers in my garden. The girls seemed to realise that something was up at this point, and decided to leg it into the garage. Retrieving them, I popped them over the netting and watched their confusion at this new obstacle. After standing around a bit and complaining, they got bored and went to scratch/poo/munch. Ha!, I thought, Me 1, Chickens 0. Happily, I skipped inside to eat my lunch.

I stood in the kitchen filling the kettle, and suddenly realised that all five hens were back on the lawn. Bugger. I strode out, looking for the breach. Puzzled, I examined the intact barrier. The chooks cackled behind me, obviously pleased with themselves. We went through this routine a couple of times before I realised the crafty cows were legging it behind the greenhouse and escaping down the side. Once I worked this out, I blocked off their escape route with some timber. All the while Maeve was charging around the greenhouse cheeping her head off at all the excitement. I'm pretty sure she was egging them on.

Now that I had a foolproof pen, I plonked them all back inside it and watched. They immediately tried the greenhouse route, and complained loudly when they found it blocked. They wandered back around to the fence, Maude leading the way. There then followed what can only be called a chicken conference as they discussed this new problem. A lot of clucking and bokking later, Maude took a run up and flew over the netting. Pretty much simultaneously, Doris limboed under a section that I couldn't get pegged down.

Back to the drawing board.

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