We have new chickens. Have I mentioned that? We have new chickens, two glossy black-emerald feathered Australorps; their names are Shirley and Esme - or, because they're barely distinguishable, and they're always together anyway, perhaps we should refer to them by the one name: Shirleyandesme? Esandshirl?
But yeah. Pertinent points: New. Chickens. They're due to take up their laying duties soon, but in the meantime they're working on their other talent (and what a talent it is), escape. Their principal method is to fly over the back fence when I'm in the room at the other end of the house; there is also a subsidiary method, but we'll get to that soon.
Once they're out and over, a simple five point manoeuvre is employed on my part.
1. Open the back gate to go out after them.
2. Close the back gate again because the other chickens have heard it and come running, excited by the possibility of getting some oval time.
3. Going round the side of the house and scattering some seed to distract those chickens.
4. Opening the back gate and slipping out while the chickens are distracted.
5. Closing the same back gate and holding it shut with a pole stuck in the ground.
6. Walking the Australorps (wherever they are) back to the gate.
7. Opening the gate and somehow attempting to keep the other chickens in (they have ceased being distracted by the food and are now distracted even more from their previous distraction by the oval, which is really just one gigantic food bowl)
8. Running after the Australorps again, wherever they have got to, and walking them back through the gate.
9. Walking the other chickens back in through the gate again.
10. Somehow making sure that the Australorps don't get out while the other chickens are getting in, shutting the gate, and going back to the other end of the house waiting for the whole exercise to be repeated.
As you will have worked out - probably at about point seven of my simple five point plan - it's all pretty tricky, and I'm not sure whether I'm fully practised in the finer details yet. Strangely enough, the Australorps only seem to do this escape trick once a day; the rest of the time they work out other tactics for escape around the garden, which I discovered the other day when I was trying to walk them back into their house before it was dark because I had to go into the city. First of all they refused to be walked to that corner of the garden where their house was, and kept turning around and dashing back to another corner, then when I got them near their house they veered away repeatedly, then they ran to the other corner of the garden and split up into two so I had to choose which one to chase and by the time I'd got that one cornered and almost into the house the other one would be far away and I'd have to let that one escape while I ran after the other one, then infuriatingly they ran around a tree in pointless circles so that I wasn't walking them anywhere and they weren't walking me anywhere; I became quite outraged, I spluttered, I blustered, I waved my arms in the air, I swore like a maniac, basically I was having a great time; and still the Australorps weren't in their house! So I gave up and left them there.
That's about all I wanted to say today about my chickens.
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