Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Chicken Missiles

It's not Christmas; I'm not Rudolph, but the end of my nose is cold and red.  Dark slid subtly up behind me, and it is cold.  My plarking project this afternoon was to secure the recently installed six-foot fence for the chickens.  The ends needed metal stakes, and the two feet of additional chicken wire was waiting for someone to graft it to the previous four .

When some of you heard about Gwyneth being carried away by a coyote, fences and pens were suggested.  Unfortunately the coyote made it easily over the four-foot chain link that surrounds our back yard.  The stability of the fence makes it very climbable.  Our solution was to shrink the hen pen from about 2000 square feet to 1200 and to make that space secure by increasing the fence height from four to six feet.  Five chickens will not know the difference.  They are still extremely pampered by any cackling standard.

However until that is accomplished, they have been spending everyday nearly all day in their coop.  They have chicken toys and nibbles to keep them entertained.  But the hen pen needs them to scratch what itches, get the bugs and eat the weeds; and they need the hen pen.  When I'm around to supervise, they get "recess" from 3 PM until bedtime, which for chickens at this time of year is about 4:30.

New taller fence--also the end of the flight path
All of them, upon being released late this afternoon while I was present to guard, exploded out of the coop and flew cruise-missile style several times across the hen pen to limber up their wings and get the blood circulating.  I don't think much of the fresh stuff reached their brains since at least two of them weren't careful about landing or pulling up when they reached the fence at the opposite end.  Chicken missiles make quite a squawking when they suddenly lose control--somewhere around twice the volume required for regular flight which is already considerable.

Tall gate needed here.

If all the Things I get to do today were as silly as those chickens,  I'd quit this blogging and have a TV show.  For now I'll just plan on making taller gates to match the tall pen while the girls practice their take-offs and landings.  The flying is easy; it's the landing that's hard.

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