from a mile away.
Once upon a time, in the land of Rambling Old Woman, a neighbor announced they would be getting some chickens in order to teach their children the responsibility of taking care of living creatures.
baaaaaaa, haaaaaaaaa, haaaaaaaaaaaaa.
Okay, I'm sorry, that was rude.
Anyway, last summer this neighbor cleared a hunk of land...(partly because the city told them they had to) and partly because of the 'chicken business'. I watched this unfold, and I was told eventually I would be getting eggs, because I was willing to have the chickens living so close. Uuuuuuuuu, a bonus.
A lovely chicken coop was put together, and sat waiting for occupants. A tree deck went up for the kids to play on, (although I'm not sure why you would want your kids playing in same area where a bunch of chickens are pooping) and indeed they did a great job of getting rid of all the English Ivy, a plant that over time has become 'not native' to our area and has to be removed. But, I digress.
One Sunday, late in the afternoon, I look out into my back yard, and discover a fence had been put up. Not one professionally installed, but one of the cheap kind, made of bamboo. One look and I could tell this was not the kind of fence that would last a year, and overcome with curiosity I had to inspect, and found my neighbor had wired his bamboo fence to my white vinyl picket fence. I suppose I could have been upset, but I found the whole thing hysterical. Not only because I knew this fence would never last, but because he had used the kind of wire art/crafters use to support his fence to mine. Seriously????? What were these people thinking?
At first I took great interest in the chickens...I even gave them names. I talked to them, and taught Zorro not to bark at them, or harass them as well. It was sweet. Now, of course, my neighbor had the chickens confined to a specific area, and that worked well for a while, but soon one learned how to jump the creek and soon they were browsing in their yard as well. Before I knew it Florence (my favorite) disappeared. As soon as the weather warmed this spring, two others disappeared. They were replaced by two more.
A couple of weeks ago a guy came to my door to tell me my chickens were roaming about. I explained they were not my chickens, but I was intrigued as to how they were getting out. So I watched for several days and discovered they could squeeze thorough a section of railing adjacent to the fencing. Hey, let me tell you chickens aren't dumb.
I tell ya', this project is doomed, because one afternoon I heard a commotion and lo, some woman walking her unleashed dog, allowed it to race into the neighbor's yard. She yelled, she screamed, she carried on royal...but...well, let's just say we were down to three chickens. A few days later, another chicken was... frankly...I've no idea what happened to it.
Two new chickens arrived.
Back to the fence. This thing is a wreck, first, it was not long enough to begin with, and there's a two foot gap at one end where the fence leans westerly, and the winter snow has badly bent it, and in some spots the bamboo has already rotted away.
Ug---ly. But, again I digress.
Finally, yesterday, I happen to be walking back into the house from the garage, and I glance out the sliding door and see what appears to be a brown and black statue. What the heck is that? I stare and stare. The statue moved. Holy crap....it's a chicken...I want to be mad...but for some reason I'm not. I think because I knew in my heart of hearts this was some day going to happen. I have to say this poor chicken seemed confused, and was pacing back and forth, back and forth I'm sure trying to figure out how to get back on the other side of the fence.
I decided I was not going to get involved. As I mentioned chickens aren't dumb, they had pretty much figured out how to beat the system on their side of the fence. So I was hopeful this chicken would figure things out...but at the moment this poor Missy was beside herself. I decided to ignore her. Then, it occurred to me, I would not be able to put Zorro out to roam his own back yard if the chicken was still there. WELL THAT'S JUST WRONG. So, (insert surrendering sigh here) I go out and round up the chicken, and kind of flop her back over the fence.
Yes, I know I could probably make a big stink over this, and march myself around the corner to their front door and ask they keep their chickens where they belong. And, no doubt, they will gerryrig some kind of hole plugger-upper. But, I do believe I've got some left over fencing in my garage, it's white, and I'm pretty sure it's long enough to cover the gap, so I intend to gerryrig something for myself.
Have their kids learned responsibility? Are you kidding me? They don't ever come to play on the tree deck. Does the mommy, who I was told wanted this project to begin with ever show up to look after the chickens? Nope. Does daddy do anything? Well, yes, kind of, at least he replaces the chickens when the others disappear, and he opens the coop to let them roam so they can disappear. But, the ivy is growing back, there's litter everywhere, the chickens keep going and going till they are gone, gone, gone...and I've yet to get an egg.