I’m losing the Great Chicken War. The enemy is sneaky, persistent, totally obsessed. Let me explain.
Speckled Sussex hens are hustlers. My seven go off in search of greens, bugs, anything they think is edible. Mulch and compost piles are magnets.
This is not a big problem since the hens lay lots of eggs. And all the extra bits the hens find make the eggs much better than commercial food alone. It also helps with feed costs.
My hens are well fed. They get a mix of oats, sunflower seeds, scratch feed and egg crumbles free choice. Oyster shell and fresh water are available.
Grass makes egg yolks deep yellow to orange. Bugs make the egg whites thick.
Over the years my hens have been allowed to roam for a few hours each day, I’ve learned to protect places the hens are not welcome. My garden is fenced off with 2″ x 4″ welded wire four feet high. The road is fenced off, but with woven wire.
Woven wire is not chicken proof. And one Speckled Sussex hen loves to go out along the road. Others join her at times, but one is adamant she must go out on the road.
When I let the hens out, I watch for her. She heads straight for the road. I head her off and run her down with the other hens now heading for the goat yard, the blackberry patch mulch or the compost pile.
A few minutes later the hen is back heading for the road again. The Great Chicken War is beginning for another day.
I go out and chase the hen back up the road and in. She watches until I get busy and heads back out. I give chase. She runs back and waits.
If I am too persistent, the hen goes down the fence to the goat pasture, through that fence, then through the fence onto the road. She has discovered the roadside down that far is much better than the roadside near the gate.
One thing good is this hen knows to stay on the side of the road when vehicles come by.
The grey foxes are back. I must get serious about winning the Great Chicken War. I am putting chicken wire over the field fence.