Sunday, April 17, 2011

Catching chickens

Catching chickens is not fun. I am new to chicken-keeping this spring, and I want to make sure my nine hens have a clean, fresh area to graze. Today I moved the elecronet fencing and their chicken tractor, a portable bottomless pen, from the area above the garden, in the apple orchard, to an area of fresh grass below the garden. During this process, the chickens all left the pen and headed for the compost pile.

Not in possession of much intelligence, the chickens couldn't seem to find their home. My 5-year-old daughter, Ella, and I tried to catch the chickens, a sight which was humorous for any observers and helped me work off the calories from the Caesar salad I had for lunch with the physical exertion required. Chickens are fast, and they are agile. I am not.

Eventually, we did catch them all, installed them in their relocated home, and gave them some corn as a peace offering for the experience. When I last saw them they were busy looking for seeds and bugs in the grass, and I hope they have forgotten the trauma of the move. Next time I will move them while they are still contained in the chicken tractor after they have gone to bed or before I let them out in the morning.

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