Yeah, so a couple days ago on Thursday, I had been out running errands all afternoon. I met Hubby for lunch and then started doing my stuff around town, so it was around 3 pm when I finally got home.
Before I left to meet him for lunch, I ran out to take care of the critters… let Samson out of his pen, give Max a potty run and see if the chickens needed water and check for eggs. They were almost out of water, so I pulled their waterer out of the coop, pushed the door together and rinsed and filled the container, replaced it and shut the door back, pushing the huge slide latch with the hook on the end so it can’t possibly slide out accidentally.
All was well, there was about 4 eggs which I took inside then I locked up and left for lunch.
Fast forward to 3 pm… I was wiped out once I got home and unloaded groceries. It was a windy, blustery, gusting early April day and I guess battling the wind made everything seem harder. I plopped down on the couch where I can easily see out the back door to where the chicken coop and run are in the backyard. I am busy catching up on Facebook and such when out of the corner of my right eye, I see something round and white moving on the patio. I look up to see what it is.
Lo and behold, a chicken is bobbing across the patio and I am flabbergasted as to how she got out there…as I set the laptop down on the coffee table, moving to go to the door for a closer look, I see she is not alone. I quickly count and realize ALL nine of them are out running around in the yard!
Through the door, I hastily glance at the run to see that door is securely latched, so I immediately think, How on earth did the coop door come open?? as I slip on my shoes and head outside.
I count the chickens again to make sure they are indeed all loose and wandering in the yard. Yep, every last one of them. I run over to the coop, around to the door which is not visible from the house at all and… it is securely closed and latched tight, just like I’d left it.
Now I am truly flummoxed! I walk all the way around the entire enclosure… the coop is attached to a run, which is open to the area underneath the coop so they have some sun blockage or a place to get out of the rain while in the run, and then on that side, opposite the “people door” for the coop, is the small, spring-action door into the run. It is made of wire on a wood frame with a claw latch. It won’t stay open unless you hook it back to the run itself, it always springs closed behind you.
So all this while, I’m walking around and around this thing, trying to discover some hole where these chickens could have escaped. I’m also calling Hubby because I just can’t figure out how this has happened! He immediately asks where Samson is and I realize that I need to secure him ASAP!
Samson, our chocolate lab, is a big softy. He’d be content to just lay around wherever you are, unless you’d like to throw a ball. Then he’s all over that until your arm falls off. Either way, he just wants to be near you. He used to be amazing with our chickens. We had let them out in the yard numerous times with Samson and after a few times of training him that he wasn’t allowed to chase the chickens, he was good with them. Never offered to bother them at all.
Until his sister, Emma, who lives on the hill with my parents, started coming down when they were out. She killed one of the chickens her second or third time, then I caught her and Sam both up under a wood pile after one. I dragged Sam to his pen and threw rocks at Emma til she went away. All I could see under the pile was a bunch of white feathers, so I didn’t look any further. I was so mad that she’d killed another chicken! I was so mad that my parents didn’t seem concerned about keeping their dog on their property.
We have had Samson on an underground fence for years. He’s not the brightest crayon in the box when it comes to navigation, so he got lost a couple times after wandering off. So we went to the trouble of buying a trencher, the fencing, extra wire, the control box and his collar so we could keep him secure. Once he learned where the fence was, he never ventures too close, which is great now that we ride bikes.
Our house is on the main route for the town’s annual bicycle ride that brings in riders from all over the country. I know there have probably been many cyclists who have had a heart attack seeing Samson come barreling toward the road, barking, not knowing that he’s contained. I’m sure they wonder why he stops and just “chases” them as far as our driveway and only to within a couple feet of the road. Anyhow, the point is, we have taken pains and gone to great lengths to keep our dog at our house.
I know my parents would be mad if we let him roam around at their house the way Emma has done here. She’s a good enough dog, but when someone else’s dog steals your dog’s toys and gets him into trouble, she ceases to be on your good side, ya know?
So there’s been that whole thing going on until about 4 months ago, when my youngest son, who lives in the basement apartment of my parents’ house, got a dog and put in a radio fence for him, and Mom and Dad then bought Emma a collar too. So at last, she’s contained, but it’s too late for Sam. He can no longer be trusted out with the chickens.
So I go looking for Samson only to find him, napping contentedly on the porch. Poor fella, he stretches and looks at me like, “What?” as I lead him to his pen. Then he noticed the chickens…he knew exactly what was up then, and almost went into the pen on his own.
I told you, he’s a good, good dog!
I was still on the phone with Hubby, repeatedly assuring him there was NO WAY those chickens just got out, that someone must have let them out. I emphatically told him yes, both doors were securely latched and I couldn’t find any holes or separations in the wire. I was completely stumped as to how they got out.
I don’t know if he thought I was crazy or what, but as I was talking to him, all the while still visually scouring that coop and run for a way the chickens could have escaped, I realize someone has walked up beside me.
It was my sister, who lives next door. I have no clue where she came from or how long she’d been there, but I immediately ask her, “Did you let the chickens out?” and almost as quickly, I chuckle at how crazy that sounds. She gets this shocked look on her face and denies it. I’m sure she was stunned because as it was, she had just pulled up in my driveway and walked over to me just then, so she was clueless about what was going on.
I get off the phone with the Hubby and start telling her what happened and still just going mad trying to figure this mystery out. She informs me that she just came to get an egg because she wanted to make my Baby Son some brownies for his birthday, which was also that day.
By the way, this all went down April 2nd, the day after April Fool’s day, so had it been one day earlier, I’d have been on the hunt for the prankster who let my chickens out!
After calming down a bit, I took Sis into the house since I’d already gathered the eggs for the day, and got her one and we sat down to talk a bit. She hadn’t been to the house in ages and was in a visiting mood, so I went with it. Every little while, my mind would go back to those blasted chickens and how on earth they could have possibly gotten out. I had decided that some random person had to have walked a good 30 yards from the road to the back of our house, let them out and then waited to latch the door back.
Yeah, it didn’t seem too likely to me either, but neither did the idea that anyone in the family let them out, so I was desperate to reason the thing out for my own sanity!
DIL1 came up after she got off work, just to visit, I think, and we told her the saga and she couldn’t come up with a good scenario either. Not long after DIL left, Hubby came home and hobbled with his crutches straight over to the run to ‘figure it all out’, I’m sure. I am almost certain he thought I was crazy, in some state of low blood sugar or fatigued delusion…but after he’d walked around it once, he didn’t have a good answer either.
So, while we were out there, the three of us because Sis was still there, Hubbs and I went into the run to replace the big water tank that had tipped over where the chickens had dug under one of the supporting blocks. While we were in there, Sis shut the run door that I had propped open earlier so the chickens could get in there if they needed to… and remember, the wind is fierce all this time…whipping and gusting like crazy. So all of sudden she yells, “HEY! This door blew open all by itself!”
We look around and see that even though the door is made of 1-inch-square wire, the wind is strong enough to shake it back and forth when latched and that the latch rattles open after awhile.
Thank God!! You can’t imagine how relived I was! I was seriously about to lose my mind trying to solve this mystery. I never imagined the wind could have blown that door open!!
And so, the mystery of the escaping chickens was solved and I got to smooth the tension I felt about getting together at her house this coming weekend for Easter. I told her how Mom had “invited” me to this thing by saying “If you wanna come, fine and if you don’t, fine.” Sis seemed to think it was ‘just Mom’ these days and didn’t seem to have a clue what instigated that. She’s not usually very subtle and if she’d been talking to Mom about me, she’d have let it slip or have outright said what was bothering her. So…anyhow, there’s that much tension I no longer have to deal with, thank God!!
He is so SO good to me! *big smile*
1 Peter 1:22 – “Having purified your souls by your obedience to the truth for a sincere brotherly love, love one another earnestly from a pure heart,”