Safe in a Gated Community

August 02, 2011

The chickens are thoroughly enjoying their new safety of living in a gated community. The fencing contractor finally arrived last week and finished off the wooden fence that surrounds our backyard, adding gates for our ease in getting in and out.  Keeping the chickens safe is of prime importance, so finishing off the fence was our top priority this summer.

Actually, the chickens rather liked the former arrangement of the temporary fence, as they could see out into the world.  They also loved the thrill of  escaping into the side yard with its virgin grass and shrubs.  But I think that the dog attack earlier this summer convinced the chickens they were better off staying within their exclusive boundaries.

They’ve quickly adapted to the pleasures and perks of security behind solid walls. This afternoon I caught them luxuriating in a community dirt bath, oblivious to everything around them except the cool soil they kicked on each other.

Dust Bathing

Now that the fence is up, I’m definitely more relaxed and I think the girls are too. In fact, I seem to hear fewer of the distress calls I heard from them earlier this summer announcing predators or movement from the ground or air.  Not seeing dogs walking in the street or trucks rolling into the cul-de-sac must be contributing to their well-being.  Let’s hope it continues -  maybe it will even lead to better egg laying!

Ruby in Total Bliss

For those of you contemplating keeping chickens, safety is of prime concern. If you cannot provide a fenced-in yard (high enough that the chickens cannot fly over), your chickens should be confined to the coop and a fenced-in run. Do not let them run through the neighborhood. It’s not fair to the chickens nor to your neighbors.

The run should be surrounded by a predator-proof fence (preferably made of hardware cloth) and the fence should be dug into the ground at least 6-inches to avoid burrowing predators. If hawks or other birds of prey are prevalent, top fencing or netting should also be strung to prevent predator attacks from the air. Chickens are prey animals and therefore you are responsible for their safety. Make sure they are locked up securely at night and that their coop and run cannot be opened by cunning racoons, opossums or other species eager to attack.

 

6 Responses to “Safe in a Gated Community”

  1. August 03, 2011 at 7:43 am, Debby said:

    We really loved meeting the new “girls” and seeing the old ones, too.
    They’re so smart and funny!

    Reply

    • August 03, 2011 at 8:57 am, admin said:

      They are really smart, you’re right! The myth about chickens being stupid is something I should write about someday.

      Reply

  2. August 03, 2011 at 12:54 pm, Allyson said:

    Such great photos of your girls bathing! I just finished reading your book and absolutely loved all of the great photos, recipes, and especially your story. Reminds me of my own flock!

    Reply

    • August 03, 2011 at 8:15 pm, admin said:

      Thanks Allyson, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I got carried away while reading your blog and spent more time than I really should have reading about your flock of hens. How fun to have chicks hatch at your own home – you’re truly lucky indeed. Good luck with your new little one!

      Reply

  3. August 04, 2011 at 8:42 pm, Shannon said:

    Janice, your book is such an inspiration! My stepmom gave it to us for Easter, and I just devoured it. It gave us that final little push to finally start our own little flock here in Austin, TX, and it’s been an utter delight. Chicken & Egg sits in my cookbook stand, and we’ve already had the paprika chicken & hummus 3 times. We’re also anxiously awaiting our first eggs and have enjoyed looking at our girls’ ears to try to determine the egg colors.

    You are so right about needing to protect the hens. Husband has built what he likes to call Fort Squawks in our yard, and I’ve already seen several neighborhood cats stalking our carefully fenced in 3-month-old hens.

    Thanks for your wonderful collection of chicken stories and beautifully photographed recipes.

    Reply

    • August 05, 2011 at 6:36 am, admin said:

      Thanks Shannon, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the book! I love the name Fort Squawks for your coop and run, how appropriate! The neighborhood cats will soon run from your chickens when the chicks get a little bigger, our cats and chickens actually get along very well but the cats run from the chickens instead of the other way around because the chickens are much bigger. Love the photos of your little chicks and your roo Floss turned Floyd! Glad you were able to find a nice home for him.

      Reply

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