Life with 5 chickens agrees with us. Currently we're getting 5 eggs per day which is a nice amount, enough for all our egg eating/cake baking needs with some left over for random gifts for friends and neighbours - which is just as well given the latest developments.
The hens live in 2 coops in the back garden and they free range in the front garden. We do have a persistent escape problem though. Our Omlet chicken proof fence is anything but, not only can the chooks stroll through the squares in the fence at will but they can hop over it in one leap. Next door's large shrubs are a magnetic draw for them providing the ideal foraging/perching/dust bathing environment. Once they get bored in our garden, they vault the fence into next door's chicken paradise.
To date, we've been able to bring them back with a shake of the sunflower seed jar, as soon as they hear that they come thundering back down the path in anticipation of a tasty snack.
Until yesterday that is ......
One ex-batt stubbornly fixed me with a beady stare and hunkered down into the dust in a defiant fashion. Have you ever tried to out-wit a chicken inside a thick hedge? It's depressingly difficult but after some scratches and swearing I managed to bring her home.
We have lovely, lovely neighbours who claim to be charmed by the persistent dust bath holes under the shrubs and scratched up flower beds ("They do a good job of raking the weeds out!"). They say they appreciate the softly clucking company as they weed and mow their garden. Personally I think they're taking 'polite' to a whole new level but nonetheless, I'm very grateful for their relaxed attitude. I'm giving them our excess eggs as a thank you, if they're having the disadvantages of chicken ownership they may as well share in the benefits too.
Now listen up chooks - if you want to keep your free ranging rights you really are going to have to consider the neighbours and come back when you're called, I think you've pushed them far enough!