Chasing Chickens

January 6, 2011

Some people chase dreams.  Children chase each other on the playground.  Dogs chase cars.  I chase chickens!  Yesterday, I let the entire flock free range for about an hour.  When it was time to return the chickens to their home, I coaxed them in with veggies and scratch.  However, two of the new silkies would not come inside.  I tried everything.  I tried to entice them with all sorts of goodies.  I spoke to them gently.  I even tried to speak chicken!  Nothing was working.

The chickens had not free ranged in a while since there was so much snow on the ground.  The older flock free ranges all the time without any problems.  I wanted to be fair to the new additions, so I felt that they too should be able to enjoy free ranging.  In the beginning of December, I had let the entire flock out.  During that time, it was difficult to get the newer birds back in the coop, but I managed after about 5 minutes to catch them.  You see, my original flock is so docile, that I can just walk up to them and pick them up.  Even if they are reluctant to go in, they are never reluctant to be held and loved.  I am not used to skittish chickens. 

Getting back to yesterday, there the two bird brains stood in the thicker underbrush of the woods near their coop.  I crawled on my knees. I tried to throw towels on top of them.  I even brought in reinforcement from my mother and my three year old.  Finally, after 3 long hours of chasing chickens, I caught them.  One I caught in the rhododendron bush and the other I caught climbing up the wire on the run.  Once caught, I held them.  I gave them a nice snack for positive reinforcement and then I put them back into their run.

I felt defeated.  After relaying this story to some friends, they were laughing and telling me that they wish they had a video camera set up.  I’m sure if it had been a weekend, my neighbors would have thoroughly enjoyed watching my antics all over the yard!  The next time the chickens free range, I will not be letting out the two escape artists.    Instead, I have decided that in the spring, I will let the entire flock out about a half hour before sundown.  Leaving every door open, I hope that their instincts will tell them to go into the coop and roost at bedtime.  Yesterday I learned the hard way; never chase a chicken. 


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Sharing an inspired life from the New England seaside. Chickens, Bees, Gardens, Art and Yummy Goodness.