Yellow Chicken House

Chicken Keeping – The good, the bad and the egg-ly!

Bird Seed Burglar

on December 14, 2013

For the last couple of weeks, I’ve been arriving home from work (in the dark) and going out into the garden with a head torch and wellies to lock the chickens up for the night. My routine involves taking the back panel off the Eglu Go to have a look inside and do a head count to make sure all the girls are there. My chickens are enclosed into an area of the garden with Omlet fencing but have now become smart enough to escape on a regular basis. So recently, I’ve been checking inside to find only two chickens staring back at me. The third chicken (which is usually Shelley) can often be found sitting on top of the compost heap on the wrong side of the fencing, alone and vulnerable. On these occasions, the chicken is essentially helpless as she cannot see. This means I have to wade through a squelchy compost heap in my wellies to rescue her – not something I’m fond of doing!

I hadn’t realised the extent of this problem until this morning when my neighbour and I were chatting in the garden over the fence. She told me that the Speckledy and one of the Warrens were regularly flying into her garden to eat the seeds she puts out for the wild birds! As we were talking, the ‘bird seed burglar’ flew up onto the fence and demonstrated her escape mechanism.

I had avoided clipping the chickens wings previously as I didn’t realise they were flying and didn’t think it was an issue. How wrong I was! To fix the problem, I spent this weekend attempting to make my garden escape-proof. I secured loose fencing and used tent pegs to close up any small gaps. I have even resorted to using pond protection netting to close smaller gaps between the branches of the trees that sit between my garden and my neighbour’s as a deterrent to the Speckledy, who has been flying through them to get to my neighbour’s wild bird feeder. I couldn’t work out how she was getting through my ‘escape-proof’ fencing efforts until I saw it with my own eyes – outsmarted by a chicken!

I also enlisted the help of my boyfriend Martin to clip the chickens wings. I was expecting a struggle but the experience was a lot calmer than I anticipated. The chickens are fairly happy to be picked up and held which helped a lot. We started with Shelley – the chief burglar – who barely seemed to notice what we were doing. Next came Cookie, who resisted capture and had to be chased around the garden by Martin followed by Buffy Lucille, the Speckledy.

Hopefully, with a combination of clipped wings and a fortress-style garden, any escape efforts will be futile and the wild birds can enjoy the food that is rightfully theirs.

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