We love our chickens! The trouble is that hawks and coyotes do too. Last week we lost a few birds and we were so sad. Because our chickens are free ranging birds, they can wander out too far in the field or woods. Some of the kids saw a mother coyote and two pups in the pasture last week - she was teaching them where to hunt! Unfortunately, our farm birds do respond well to commands, so we couldn't just shoo them back into the corral.
We decided to make a chicken tractor, a mobile sort of cage that allows them to graze and move about in a confined space. We used a pop-up canopy and some chicken wire, an old plastic box and some pine shavings. Viola! Chicken safety --- but only for the chickens who would fit in there. There wasn't enough room in the inn.
That's how we learned something cool about chickens. For the past three days we have been putting 10 - 12 chicken in the chicken tractor during the day time. We are amazed that none of the rest of the chickens wander out to the pasture without them. We had been having trouble with our chickens going across the road even (yes - like in the joke), but now they don't even leave the fence of the corral. Apparently, the flock won't leave unless the whole flock can leave. And if part of the flock is staying, they are all staying. Chicken Solidarity! Now, if I can just get people to work like that?!