Confining Jurassic chicken

Anti-chicken netting... but not anti-Aliss!

Anti-chicken netting… but not anti-Aliss!

Well finally I had to admit defeat – Aliss, the velociraptor of our little flock, has proved that no amount of netting over vegetables is going to keep her out. She won the battle of the runner beans last year and this spring she has managed to penetrate my best defenses covering the oriental greens bed. So, over the weekend, we took drastic action and the garden is now split into two parts: chickenville and vegetable land. Well. three parts if you include the fruit cage, to which the hens have access at certain times of the year. The barrier across the path is temporary at the moment, but Mr Snail-of-happiness will build a gate to go there soon. On the other side of the fruit cage a more elaborate construction of chicken wire was required, as it had to go through the willow hedge and be attached to the fence between us and the field behind.

No-entry, chickens!

No-entry, chickens!

This separation of the garden into several areas follows the approach taken at Station Road… which continues to inspire me! I will carry on netting the vegetables because it keeps dogs off, but it won’t be such a problem if some of the pegs come adrift or if strong winds blow the netting about. I don’t want the chickens excluded all the time – their slug hunting and week clearing skill will be required during certain periods , but at least this way my greens will be safe!

Well-behaved terriers... it took us a while to train them to this stage.

Well-behaved terriers… it took us a while to train them to this stage.

The separation also has the benefit that chickens and dogs can be out in the garden unsupervised at the same time. Max seems to be completely trustworthy with them, but we don’t trust Sam not to chase a running or flapping hen. Having said that, all was peace and harmony when I was sorting out the contents of some of last year’s pots earlier in the week.

And, strangely, the reduction in space (they still have plenty to run around and dig in) seems to suit Lorna who, after not laying since Christmas, produced her first egg of 2013 yesterday! It probably isn’t linked to the smaller space and has more to do with longer days, abundant leafy greens over the past few weeks, and extra slugs on Sunday (found as we were moving containers around), but perhaps it has helped her to focus. I wonder if it will be another five months before we have the next one from her!

%d bloggers like this: