As the days are getting longer, the chickens are getting harder to get back into their cage. However, providing that the girls go through the same routine, it isn’t too difficult – make sure they have the scrap bucket (the chickens know that it contains their food, and follow it), then go outside and call out “chook chook” loudly several times so that they gather at the back gate, then open the gate, go through, shut the gate, and go down to the chook shed. Usually with 6 excited chicken running as fast as their fat legs can take them.
Not complicated at all.
Unless you have a 7-year-old girl (who shall remain nameless, but you can probably guess) who is in a feral, uncooperative mood – in which case, you have the great chicken debacle of November 2012 (not to be mixed up with the September one).
It began by bursting into tears and shouting – because we are the meanest parents EVER to expect her to help. Followed by stomping out the door without the bucket, leaving the gate open and going down to the chook shed without calling them.
Well, the poor chickens couldn’t cope with a break in the routine. Miss 7 called out “chook chook” down by the shed, and then several came, saw the gate open and went into our house yard. This made Miss 7 even crosser, so she shouted at the chickens – who, perhaps unsurprisingly, don’t really care if 7-year-olds yell at them.
At this point, Meg decides to get the scrap bucket and call the remaining chickens into the yard. The chickens thought that they had come to paradise, and promptly started scratching under some enormous bushes.
I got out a stick to try and chase them out, and Miss 7 found a paint brush (useless), which she then swapped for a 2 meter bit of irrigation hose (from one extreme to the other), neither of which proved useful. She did bang them around a bit for effect, though! A few times I almost got the chickens out of the yard, but Toby was standing right in the middle of the gate. Grrrrr.
Both girls continued to chase the chickens for a while, trying to catch them. Unfortunately, the chickens had wised up to what was going on and weren’t keen to be caught. Miss 7 took the opportunity to randomly shout at the chickens, her siblings, and me a bit more.
Finally, after about 10 minutes we got them out of the house yard, but the chickens wouldn’t go anywhere near the kids or the chicken coop. Maybe they didn’t like being shouted at after all.
At any rate, I called a halt to the proceedings, made the kids collect the eggs and left the chickens to recover from their ordeal in peace.
Country Boy shut the gate later in the evening after the sun went down, and I don’t imagine we will be getting any eggs for a few days! Of course, the whole thing was my fault because I made her do the chickens.
Am I the meanest parent ever? Will my chickens ever lay eggs again? Do chickens mind being shouted at?