Thursday last week, I let the chooks out to free range. When they are out ranging, I tend to stand at the back door and watch them from time to time during the day. I checked on them about 3:30pm.
When I checked again at 5pm, they had somehow managed to knock the orange fence down that separates them from the potplant and concrete area, and one or several of them had got into my large plant pot.
I had planted some silverbeet and kale before we went on holidays, just to see how it did. We have not had a lot of luck recently with seedlings at all. Well now two of the new plants had been pulled out completely and dirt thrown everywhere by some very naughty girls. All of them were involved, we watched it on the CCTV cameras. I took some screenshots for you!
You can see Grumpy lying in the sun inside the door there, casually watching the carnage. It is not entirely their fault, as the orange fence had seemingly begun to biodegrade. They’d managed to put some holes in it and sneak through before, but usually we have spotted them before they had a chance to do anything bad, and they would quickly leave when we went out there.
Look at Rosie there, overseeing the goings on, like the grande dame she is.
I went out into the pen pretending like I had a treat to give them, they all followed me into the pen, and I locked them up for the day. Bad girls, I said! You should have seen their sad chook faces as they all stood by the door, hoping I would forgive *and* forget. I counted them, as I always do when I put them away. 12345, I thought. Yep, all in.
But worse news was to come for the girls – when I told The Other Half what they had done, we agreed that the orange netting which was serving as a fence had to come down and we had to come up with another solution. He went out and took down the fence, and swept the concrete as we have had a lot of leaves blow down recently.
The next morning, when the other half went to feed them, he only saw 4 chooks. He knocked on the back door and told me one of the game hens was missing. Impossible, I said. I remember counting them when I put them away. I went to get dressed, by the time I got back he had found the missing girl, who had made herself a lovely nest in an invisible spot, behind a gum tree in among some aloe vera at the very back of their enclosure.
When I went back out there around 10am to check on them, they did not get let out to free range, again. They could not quite believe it. I had gone out to get one of their water containers and bring it inside. It was a 38 degree day and they needed some ice water. When I went back out with the water, they did not get let out, again! They did not realise they now had no fence at all stopping them from pooping on the concrete or getting into the plant pots.
The next day, perhaps in protest at not being let out, perhaps just out of spite or because it is fun, the game hens laid their eggs in the special hiding nest. We used some wire to bring the wire fence closer to the tree, so this spot is no longer accessible to the girls. Yesterday we built them a new fence, which is a story for another blog post, and I will tell you that story next Monday.