Monday, July 29, 2013

Not that we're Nazis or anything

Contrary to popular prejudice, the Great Escape did not happen some six decades ago in Germany. It happened yesterday. In our own front yard. Two Australorp chickens (not World War II detainees) were involved, who I will from henceforth refer to as the Australorps, because they are.

It also happened this morning, about 11 o'clock. Also this morning at 11.30. I haven't checked lately but they might be at it again. In fact, with these Australorps it's the Great Escape all day, every day.

Various methods have been tried to get the Australorps back home. Sometimes I round them up with a stick and get them to walk back to the house (often involving me leaping over the fence into the front yard of some neighbour who has barely had time to adjust themselves to the strange chickens foraging in their yard, much less the strange man who has just joined them). Alternatively, the Baron and I have also tried enticing them out of the garden they're not supposed to be in with food - which is rather like trying to tempt a kid out of a pavlova factory with a bit of meringue. Yesterday, just for a change, I tried having a tantrum. I can't say for sure whether it worked, I'll have to try that one again. I'm sure I'll have the opportunity to do so.

I understand that other Great Escape - the one they made a movie and stuff about - involved troopers and Tommy guns and motorbikes and all sorts of cool stuff like that. I haven't got to that stage yet with the Australorps, but I'm pretty sure I'm building up to it.


Steve said...

Is it because they don't like the other two chooks? If so, perhaps a counselling session is in order, involving "trust" exercises. (You know, a chicken falls over backwards to be caught by an ISA Brown - or a Brown Magnifique, as I prefer to call them.)

If this doesn't work, and given that their escape appears to routinely involve rudimentary flight, can wing feathers be clipped on a chook to prevent more altitude than (say) 60 cm being attained by half jumping, half fluttering? I asked a pet shop owner with a bird on his shoulder once why it stayed there, and he made reference to wing clipping. (As you can tell, I am pretty ignorant on all things to do with domestic birds.) You couldn't tell it had been clipped, but maybe hens are a different story.

TimT said...

I don't think it's that. I think they just like running for exercise and going far and wide, getting grass and weeds and worms from as many different spots as possible.

I like Brown Magnifique. It suits their character.

Baron von Harlot said...

Wing clipping would help stop the Australorps leaping our fences, and I think it's quite a commonly invoked solution, but it feels like a horrible impairment to inflict. Our Agatha came to us with one wing clipped, and whereas the others could all jump up to their bed at night, she had to trundle up the gangplank. She couldn't get up onto the branch where the others liked to roost during the day, and had to sit underneath. (Her pinions have since grown back, and all's well with her now.) I feel like it would also make the birds more vulnerable to day-time fox/dog attack, should we be so unlucky. So - we'll keep extending the height of the fences, and they'll keep working on their pole-jumping, and meanwhile there'll be the odd embarrassing encounter with the neighbours as someone retrieves a hen from a rose garden.

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