Because she was BORED.
The Man and I live on about 5 acres of land, with two country roads at one corner of the property. The chickens, with a few rare, brief exceptions, have been remarkably good about keeping to our property. Until yesterday.
When I look out the kitchen window to check on them, I’ll often see them under the pine tree by the furnace, or under the bird feeder, or in what’s left of the garden, or in Fox Woods. When I looked out the windows this morning and saw them in none of those places, I decided to go out with some warm oatmeal to round them up, and get them back close to the barn.
I looked EVERYWHERE. I was roaming my property, calling “looklooklooklook!!!” in my best boy soprano, still in my jammies (yes, I was still in my jammies at 10am…don’t judge me). Quite a spectacle, I’m sure.
That’s when I saw them.
The furnace, the girls’ new hangout, is next to a reasonably busy road:
I turned my gaze across to the other side of the road and saw Trixie and Buffy coming up over the rise toward me. ACK!! I crossed the road, to find the rest of the girls deeply buried in this little wooded area:
And I mean…DEEPLY. They were gleefully digging through the wet leaves, and didn’t even look up. Now, I holler a mean “looklooklooklook!!!”, and it has never failed before. “Looklooklooklook!!!” means treats, which is very serious business.
Didn’t. Even. Look. UP.
This was dire. I did manage to get them back into the barn in the end, making a fool of myself as I went (no cars were witness, thank god), and closed the doors behind them. They were officially in a time out. Quite aside from any concerns I had for their safety (and that of passing drivers), having your livestock roam a neighbour’s property is exceedingly poor form.
So, the girls spent the next few hours with full access to the barn, their coop and run, but not to the outside. Bad chickens! BAD!!! When I let them out later, they went the opposite direction from the road, and grazed happily under the trampoline.
Are you thinking that they learned their lesson? Silly reader.
I had hoped they might have forgotten all about their excellent adventure when I let them out this very cold morning (15 degrees F), and was relieved when they made their way to the other side of the property, around the front of the house, up onto the front porch (hey, wood has to be relatively warm on the feet), around the other side of the house, and….across the road!!
I pulled out the big guns this time. When I corralled them back across the road, I used my loudest, most percussive “chootchootchootchoot!!!“. (“Choot” starts with a hard “ch” and rhymes with “soot”, and it is my scolding, “don’t you dare” call.) I stomped on the road. I waved my arms around. I left nothing on the table.
They’re under close surveillance now. “They” say that a chicken can’t be trained, but could I please get a little Pavlovian response, already?!