Thursday, June 23, 2016

We Have Chickens

The Adventure starts

Or, Bum Rushed by a bird. 

We went to pick up our 6 new chickens yesterday and made the trek to Mountain View. With a newly made transport cage we braved the roads (if you can call them that) into the Mountain View area of Hawaii. For those that don't know it, this place is tropical forest. Most lots are at least 3 acres and since many are owned by off islanders, they tend too be overgrown or virgin lands, untouched by development. This means the animals that run in these lots are feral, and that included our 'semi'-tame chickens. The man we bought them from caught them the day before and held them in a large tote, comfortable, but snug. Ready and waiting for us and their transport. 

Money and chickens exchanged, we made the 40 minute ride home, planning
how we were going to release almost wild, 2 year old hens used to roosting in the trees each evening into a pen that has only 5 foot fences.  Our naivete got the best of us and we agreed that if we clipped their wings, one at a time as we brought them out of the container, we'd be fine.

So, we got home, drove the Jeep right up to the gate of the coop and run, carefully shut and secured the latch then got food and water setup for them inside the coop. JoAnn had the scissors for the clipping- I was to hold the birds for the deed.   

I cracked the lid off the tote, reached in for the first bird and as I grabbed hold of
one, another pushed through the gap between my arm and the lid, then started flapping like mad. This worked the lid further off the tote, and gave the flapping bird just enough room to get her feet on the upper edge of the tote. More furious flapping, and since I was concentrating on keeping  my hold on the the first bird,  the tote lid came off and the flapping chicken escaped into the pen without her clipping. No big deal I thought. The fence is high enough and I can catch one chicken quick enough. I clipped the feathers of the one I held, then I  grabbed another, JoAnn clipping and me grabbing until all 5 of the remaining birds were done. Now to catch and clip the original escapee.

Suffice it to say, that after 10 minutes of a very poor remake of Rocky II and a sad image of an old fat guy chasing chickens, the fully winged bird took flight and made it up 4 of the 5 feet of the fence. Clawing and flapping, it made it to the top before I could get to it and easily made it over the top. Then two more flapped to the top of the fence in another spot and they too were off to Free Ranging Freedom before I was able to catch the rest and secure them into the coop. I then wired the pop doors shut, so there would be no Steve McQueen-esque motorcycle fence jumping escape scene for the three remaining layers. Locked in and secure, we went after the three escapees. 

After 30 minutes of no joy we left food and water inside the penned area to lure them back to their friends, and we went back to the house. At dark, we could hear them clucking and cackling to each other but they did not come into the pen. 

The next morning (today) we were up at 5:00 am to see what  was happening. Too early, there was one still roosting in a tree next to the coop. We made another plan- No. Not a Wile E Coyote style plan; a real plan. Though we did have to get some more stuff from ACME (aka Home Depot) for the pen. We would put a bird netting over the pen effectively making it into an aviary. Once the outside birds sauntered into the pen, it wouldn't matter if they could fly. They would be held in! We got 10 lengths of 10' EMT poles, painted them green (to match the fence posts) and a 50' x 50' netting designed for game birds. We were in the process of zip tying the net to the poles and we went into the house for lunch. While we were eating, JoAnn had a 'feeling there was a chicken', and went to see. There was a bit of a ruckus at the chicken pen and come to find that JoAnn caught another one and got it secured into the coop! We now have 4 of the 6 hens!

Now only two more.

Next post- the final chapter of the beginning

Photo Credits:
My Photo! 

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