What's been going on down on the farm? Well my chickens have been behaving like chickens and I haven't been a very good chicken farmer. For the first time in years, my chickens have started roaming the valley. I've always free-ranged my chickens - they seem to like it and I enjoy having a chicken or twelve waiting for me when I head out in the morning. But early in the fall, I noticed that the neighbor's lawn was looking a little brown here and there and I wondered to myself what he had been doing. After a couple of days, I realized that the reason why his lawn was so brown was because my chickens had been picking around for worms and yummy things-that-taste-good-to-chickens. I was mortified.
I was mortified because I didn't ever want to be the kind of person whose animals bothered other people. There have been a couple of occasions that my goats got out and ran over to the neighbor's yard. My horse also got out one time and the neighbor was having a fit because Buddy was standing over in his yard. This neighbor hates me and I was sure that he was about ready to kill me. And my chickens.
So my youngest son and I began mission chicken catch. First though, we had to put a roof on their pecking area so that they could fly out. After that was done, we set out to catch chickens. It took days and I must say, that I've become quite adept at chicken catching. I've found that early in the morning darkness is the easiest time to sneak up and grab one. At the high point in my chicken-catching career, I was able to grab 3 at a time and carry them to their new home.
They have plenty of space to move around, walk, fly, and peck the ground. But still, they are not free-ranged. I think it would be very irresponsible of me to let them free and risk having the neighbor shoot my chickens. So until I can figure something else to do, my chickens will have to stay penned in.