So by now you know our chickens……Amelia, George, Big Momma, Sherman, etc…. Of course, every time we go out to ‘The Farm’ they look for us to let them out of the coop so they can roam the land. Now that the garden has been cleared, they have gotten a little more rambunctious and adventurous. As we tackle various tasks on the farm, they tend to find new areas to roam, dust, and nest. Unfortunately they sometimes end up vacating the property next to us. Yes, this is land is occupied by homo sapiens to the dismay of many of our chickens, especially the leghorns. In fact, one day, we were putting up the barn rafters and to much of the surprise of everyone, the chickens had found a temporary vacation spot underneath the raised deck of Ben, the neighbor. Now, we are very consciousness about the strolling of our chickens. We make sure once they cross over the property line that we go and walk them back into our boundaries the minute we catch them roaming. That was until Mother Nature taught them to stay closer to home.
This past weekend we decided to work on the roof-line of our barn. In order to do this, we rented a hydraulic lift to help us on the inside of the barn to secure the collar ties. After getting used to balancing our weight on the lift (no, we definitely are not construction workers), we had settled into a good rhythm of building and securing the roof all from within the friendly interior of the barn. About three hours into today’s project, I was on the lift using the nail gun on the ridge board when Jim had to leave where the lift was parked to go get another board. Suddenly I heard and saw ‘the girls’ (aka our chickens) run quickly from various parts of our property into the barn area. This commotion definitely made me take a quick break and look to see what was going on from the landing, 16 feet up in the air. As I stooped down to look out the front of our barn doors when Jim had just begun to start to walk out those doors, a hungry Hawk scooped down with his talons spread ready to preserve his lunch for the day. Of course, my reaction was to SCREAM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Since Jim was walking out of the barn he was at direct eye-level with ‘the beast’. Without hesitation we both quickly began counting chickens. 1, 2, 3, 4,….etc…. Each time we counted we only came up with 8. Where in Sam’s Hill is the 9th???? Oh no….George was missing. Now George is the one chicken that does her own thing. She is very curious and wants to check out anything interesting/new (thus the name Curious “George”). I quickly let the lift down to the ground so we could search for her. Jim and I both quickly scoured the land and after a final ditch effort, found her happily sitting in her nesting box laying tomorrows breakfast with not a care in sight. SHEWWWWWW…… so the Predator wasn’t able to get any of the Prey. We decided since they had been out all day that it was time to put them safely back into their home. They were all huddled into one corner of the barn by now, not trusting the wild kingdom that they once explored. I picked up two of them to carry them back to the Coop (as I had done many times before), and within seconds the whole flock followed behind without hesitation (which they had never done). They were not taking any chances! A couple of hours passed by and they didn’t even come out of the 4 walls of the coop to their favorite recreation area, the outdoor courtyard. Mother Nature definitely has taught them, and us, the predator vs. prey concept.