Saturday, April 18, 2009
I decided to expand the chicken yard and make a new gate on the other side of the house. Right now it is a gate to nowhere, since I did the gate before the fence. It is hinged to the corner of the house, waiting to fulfill it's purpose. I used left-over chicken wire and scrap lumber from the cellar, and constructed it a little differently from the first one I made. Now that I know the ways of chickens, I was better able to anticipate their escape strategies. I hope this one is tall enough to discourage them from flying up to sit on it, then going down the other side. They are clumsy fliers, so they don't go over the chicken wire fence, but the top of a gate is hard to resist. I'm contemplating shrinking their space on the other side so that I can make a small place to put my outside table and a chair. I don't spend much time sitting outside, but I do like it once in awhile. I can see the water from there and contemplate my good fortune to be living by the ocean.
Earlier in the day I filled the bird feeders, including the one outside the dining room window. I have to open the window and reach out for it, and there is no screen in order to make the job easier. As soon as the window was open, Patrick was through it in a flash. He ran out on the roof of the chicken house, barking furiously at the girls below. They started squawking and running around frantically. Patrick looked as if he were going to jump to the ground, repeatedly approaching the edge of the roof and then backing off. I had to climb out, grab him by the tail, and pull him back through the window. I think in another minute he would have built up his courage enough to jump. He wanted those chickens bad.
I feel lucky that I have managed to keep all six of these chickens alive and present after my bad luck with their predecessors. I've had them about a year now with no catastrophes, though there have been a lot of close calls. Several times the dogs have gotten out and tried to get at them. I am always right on their heels, frantic that they will get into the pen before I can stop them. So far, though, the fence has held, even with them jumping on it. I think I finally got it right.