Thursday, 25 October 2012

Free range chickens

Chickens typically go into coops of an evening, and get let out in the morning, but here like everything else my chickens are not the norm! Apart from the fact that I don't have a big enough coop to house them all, rounding them up is an impossible task! People never seem to understand the concept of free range, and still believe that free range chickens are controlled in some way, but mine aren't!.

I needed to catch five pullets the other day, and although every day they are in the pig pen at feeding time, on this occasion they thought they would take a little wander. When I say a little wander I mean to the back of the orchard and sit there staring at me as if to say HA we aren't stupid.

So, up and down the orchard we went trying to catch my wonderful free range chickens  who seem to have an ability to walk really slowly until you are within grabbing distance and then speed off faster than the roadrunner. Thankfully, their stomachs got the better of them, and eventually we caught them, but not without running the distance of  a football pitch at least 5 times.

People are really quick to tell me how they should be put away very night, and that it will make them easier to catch, and that leaving food trails will help me to catch them. I would love to leave these helpful people in the orchard with a bucket of corn and the army of chickens I have and see if they nicely follow anyone into the coop!

I think we take the concept of free range to the next level as realistically I have feral chickens that we feed and they produce eggs, it is a relationship that works well for everyone! That is until we need to catch them for something, which thankfully doesn't happen that often. But, the rooster man is due soon, which is filling me with dread, as he will expect the roosters to all be stood in a line waiting for his arrival, a bit like a line of school children going on a school trip.

I know this will never happen, which will result in hours of shouting, swearing in two languages, and being lectured about why my chickens need to be put away at night!! Oh well, I have been putting this task off for long enough, and need to book him in, so will dig out the trainers and be prepared for an afternoon of exercise, just what I love NOT!

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