Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Outsmarting Motivated Chickens

I mean...not that we really needed to.
You see, we've discovered in our few weeks of chicken stewardship that they are really, really stupid animals - unless they really want something. I thought the sheep were kinda thick, but chickens?
Let's just say that in a match of wits between a chicken and a brick, I'd pick the chicken...but only because it would poop on the brick.
Anywho, despite (or because of) their intelligensia, they've been escaping through the electric netting.
Yes, the 3" x 7", 9,000-Volt-packing gap in the net has been little to no hindrance, as they bolt for the other side and voluntary get zapped over and over again in the process. They must really, really want those bugs on the other side of the fence, I guess. The grass IS always greener, if you're a chicken.
The clucking and the feather ruffling accompanying each zap is humorous, to be sure, but it ultimately leads to scenes like this:
Thing #3 chasing loose chickens in the kids play area. Not cool.
They were also inching closer to the garden each day, and getting bold enough to wander into the front yard near the street.
Instead of waiting for a definitive answer for why the chicken actually did cross the road, Wife and I needed to do something.

We went ahead and invested in some deer netting. It has 3/4" holes, and is lightweight and nearly invisible until you get really close. We got some zip ties, and attached it yesterday:
The smaller deer net spacing prevents the chickens
from escaping through the  electric netting.
It came in a 7' by 100' roll. We divided into thirds, making it stand 28" up the electric net. This is far taller then the chickens are now, so they would need to jump and aim at a higher opening to escape. With clipped wings, that just ain't gonna happen.
So far, it seems to be working. I'd normally have seen 20 chickens scattered all over the yard by now, but they all are still contained.
One in particular (a Rhode Island Red)  is pacing back and forth looking for an opening. This is the same one who's been the ringleader in most of the new territory explorations (like the front yard).
As of right now, it's Humans 1, Chickens 0.

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