Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Well, my net caught one of the strawberry thieves this morning. I went out to check on the chickens and the veg garden. And there was a robin tangled in the net. So determined to reach my strawberries that it had tried to sneak under one edge. I managed to get it disentangled and it flew off. I was glad to see it didn't seem injured. In the picture you can see the net in the background. That's my dog, Tachy, in front, left.
Then, walking over to the chicken enclosure, what do I see but four of our hens *outside* their fence. It was very windy last night. Windy enough to wake me up at about 5am because the oak tree branches were scraping the roof. The hens roost in the oak tree outside our bedroom. It's huge, and some of the branches overhang their enclosure. Occasionally they fly down on the other side of the fence. Which gives them access to a big weedy field full of bugs, but keeps them away from their water and their food. So I carefully herded them back inside, and they went straight to the food. While they pecked, I looked for the fifth hen. Didn't see her inside the coop. So I walked all around our nearly-three acres and up and down the road in front of the house. No hen. Gone.
Occasionally one of them goes walkabout and comes back, but usually it's just on our property. Sometimes they find an out-of-the-way spot under the shrubs to lay an egg and then hang out there for a while. We find them eventually, or they come back because they're hungry.
So I went out to check this afternoon and we still only had four hens. At this point I'm thinking a local fox or badger managed to catch a really chewy meal last night. If the wind blew her out of the oak tree she might not have been able to get back up. Hard to say. We'll probably never know.