If you have chickens and they get locked out of the coop before bedtime, and you want to go looking for them to get them inside so the fox doesn’t come and eat them up before morning, and it’s dark and you can’t really see…. well, you should definitely check the trees near the coop first.
Our chickens now roam freely all afternoon and they reliably bring themselves back into the coop when the sun sets. All we usually have to do is go down and shut the door. Well, a few days ago the grandsons were outside playing with the chickens and decided to shut the coop door well before dark, so when the chickens came waddling back, none of them could get inside.
At dusk we finally realized what the kids had done and quickly went to open the door. Most of the chickens then came on inside and got themselves settled for the night, but six were still missing, and it was dark already. Hubby pulled the truck around and aimed the headlights into the woods behind the coop.
Then he started walking through the trees, calling, “Here chick, chick, chick… here chick, chick, chick…” in his cute falsetto. I was helping him, saying, “Bok-bok-bok,” using my best chicken voice. Neither of us were getting a response.
Turns out the whole time we had our eyes looking down we should have been looking up! After about five minutes, my daughter spotted a group of three birdies lined up close together on a tree branch right next to the coop. In the darkness, they looked like three crows, hanging out and sticking close together.
They must have been nearly asleep already, because they didn’t even try to get away and seemed really startled when hubby picked them up to take them to the coop. A couple of trees over, there were the other three on a higher branch. We did not clip their wings, so our chickens can fly, ya know. We had to get something to stand on to reach, but they were also easily caught and carried to safety. Whew! Crisis over.
So yeah, check the trees first if you’re ever missing some chickens at night!
BTW, since they’ve been free wheelin’ the older laying hens have been giving us the most delectable orange-yolked eggs. They had been yellow and looking like grocery store eggs before we started letting them free roam. These orange eggs are waaaaay better.
And on another note, I don’t know how I’m going to find any dandelion roots this fall. I’m not sure I’ll get any chickweed either after the weather turns cool again. These chickens have wiped the yard clean of both these greens!