Chicken update: Part two

Even after seeing their sister snatched by a raptor, our two remaining hens continued to leave the relative safety of their run by flying over the electric fence. Many times each day we’d spot them strutting through the yard, half an acre from their coop. We’d herd them back in and they’d be out again within minutes. And really, we couldn’t blame them: an electric fence doesn’t mean much to a hawk, so they probably figured they might as well live it up while awaiting their untimely deaths!

We needed a multi-pronged solution. First, we wanted to add more hens to the flock. We couldn’t just replace the one we’d lost, because adding a single bird to an established flock will result in henpecking. So we returned to the farm where we’d gotten our original hens, asked for two more, and ended up coming home with three. (I was out-maneuvered in that discussion.)

Second, we needed to keep our girls inside the fence—for their own protection and that of our newly planted fall garden. (Seeds and seedlings are much more vulnerable to hens than the tough old tomato and pepper plants that make up our now-elderly summer garden.) My husband googled wing-clipping and found that it involves cutting only feathers; it’s bloodless and painless, and was surprisingly easy to accomplish. We clipped the wings only of our two original hens, giving the new girls a pass since they haven’t yet learned the bad habit of escaping. If they ever figure it out, they too will get the scissor treatment.

Third, we wanted to do our best to keep the hawks away. We bought some monofilament fishing line and strung it from the tops of the electric fence stakes in a 3-foot grid. And we tied CDs to the lines to create a shimmery effect in the sunlight. This is all supposed to repel hawks, without harming them.

So far, so good! And it’s pretty neat to look outside and see a flock of five. We named the big red one Joan.

 

Posted In:     Uncategorized

Previous Post

Living Wagers hopeful new administration means fair wages

Next Post

"Serial Thrillers" at PVCC



Our comments system is designed to foster a lively debate of ideas, offer a forum for the exchange of ad hoc information, and solicit honest, respectful feedback about the work we do. We’re glad you’re participating. Here are a few simple rules to follow, which should be relatively straightforward.

1) Don’t call people names or accuse them of things you cannot support.
2) Don’t direct foul language, racial slurs, or offensive terms at other commenters or our staff.
3) Don’t use the discussion on our site for commercial (or shameless personal) promotion.

We reserve the right to remove posts and ban commenters who violate any of the rules listed above, or the spirit of the discussion. We’re trying to create a safe space for a wide range of people to express themselves, and we believe that goal can only be achieved through thoughtful, sensitive editorial control.

If you have questions or comments about our policies or about a specific post, please send an e-mail to editor@c-ville.com.

Leave a Reply

avatar
  Subscribe  
Notify of