While Sage will never rival his Amish neighbors in country living skills, he HAS become a proficient chaser and toter of chickens. Even Minerva, our Chicken Matriarch, has resigned herself to being hoisted skyward and toted around the yard by enthusiastic seven-year-olds.
However, Minerva isn’t always so resigned to her fate. From the time we got her as a pullet, she’s proven herself to be an avian Houdini, consistently finding ways to escape her enclosures no matter how we modified them.
Then, last summer, my husband Paul erected a high-walled chicken pen that seemed successful in thwarting her escapist ambitions. (You need not weep for her, fortunately; the 20 by 25 foot pen houses just six chickens, so she can’t complain about crowding.) We thought both she and the garden would now live in contented mutual exclusion.
Alas, when a chicken gets wanderlust, it can’t be suppressed. I’d noticed Minerva out scratching around the lawn while her five companions remained in the pen, but I thought she had just slipped out on the heels of somebody who’d gone to check the bees. Now, I realize, I was wrong; I caught her in the act of escaping.
One of our beehives had spent the winter surrounded by hay bales and covered by an old door for protection from the elements. The set-up had worked–the colony survived the winter–and it also provided Minerva with her opportunity. She leaped onto the hay bales, then onto the door, then onto the fence post, and down into the garden.
It just goes to show, you can’t keep a good hen down.