In order to keep my suburban, free ranging chickens in my yard I have clipped their wings.
It’s really not difficult. My parents raised parrots for years and the concept is pretty easy. When you look at a birds wings you will see two very distinct sets of feathers. The long ones are the primaries and the shorter set are the secondaries. Carefully, with a sharp pair of scissors, cut the primaries back to the secondaries. Presto! You’re done.
This does not mean, however, that you have eliminated their upward mobility. Chickens have powerful legs! Drumstick anyone? Maybe a thigh? So you understand what I am talking about. Our Buddy fence (named after my son’s dog that destroyed my spring garden a couple years ago) is tall enough to keep Buddy out. But not the chickens. In one jump they manage to perch on the top of the fence, flapping their wings a couple of times to delude themselves into the idea that they can fly, but… it’s not really doing much at all. It’s those drumsticks and thighs that get them up there. So for a few weeks now they have been helping themselves to the garden. The watermelon vines were their favorites but those are gone now. I laid out a batch of compost on the area where I am fixing to plant and the last few days they have been in heaven scratching through that.
But it’s time to plant the main garden. Well, technically it’s past time, but I’m finally getting around to it.
So the ladies got to go.
That’s right, I’m CUTTING YOU OFF, GIRLS!!! (insert maniacal laughter here)
Since I already have the Buddy fence I am just going to run some chicken wire next to it and zip tie it up. It I need some extra rigidity I have a couple of long wooden stakes I can put up. It will be flimsy at the top which is good. Birds don’t like to try and roost on things that are flimsy. I’m hoping this does the trick.
Then I can plant!
Celery, cabbage (I need at least one good one, preferably two for St. Patty’s day corned beef and cabbage, although I would like some others for kraut), cauliflower (another first), and peas (I love peas, they rarely make it inside).
Free range chickens are great. Free range chickens scratching to eat the seed you just planted, or the seedling that managed to survive the initial seed hunt, not so good.