We had a full on Chicken Run incident here on the farm yesterday. The birds give the full details over on their blog.
It was a genuinely terrifying moment when I first pulled up. I was sure some of them had been crushed by the falling panels or had been gobbled up before I could get there. I was extremely relieved to see that everyone was fine. As I pulled into the field, Lilli and the other Orpington girls, as well as Pippi, were making a beeline for the field gate. I don’t know if they just came running because they saw the “treat car” or if they had decided to vacate the field altogether. Even in my fear for their safety, it was a hilarious sight. They were seriously booking it down that hill. I really wished I had a camera with me at that moment!
Seeing the fence made my stomach wobble. If one of the birds hadn’t been fast enough to get out of the way of the panels falling, I’m pretty sure they would have been killed- especially when the cows started trampling the panels! Thank god Madeline wasn’t out there! Both feed pans were bent all to crap by cows stepping on the edges. Luckily my big, expensive waterer was just knocked over. The braces that hold the panels to each other were completely bent and useless.
I had grabbed some turkey and bread on my way out the door to lure everyone back to the yard. That did the trick! I threw it all out in the yard while we were trying to fix the fence and they were all back in the pen by the time the last panel was in place. I was very impressed with Ernest, Gulliver, and the rooster-still-known-as Amelia. They were doing such a great job keeping the girls together (for the most part) and I think they had a lot to do with ushering everyone back into the yard. I actually felt a little sorry to have to put them up. They seemed to be having such a great time on their little adventure.
When my sister came up to tell me they were out again, I was really, really annoyed. I can’t particularly afford to replace the fence right now and I can’t keep them cooped up for very long. But the only option for the moment was to pop them in the coop and take the fence down. It was just a matter of time before someone- chicken or cow- was seriously injured. Seeing as how the cows are Texas Longhorns, I was having terrible visions of a cow getting it’s horns stuck in the fence panel and breaking a neck.
Which brings me to the baffling part of the story: why exactly did the cows run through the fence? Ok, no one actually SAW them run through it, but they had to have played a part. The wind couldn’t have knocked the panels down- especially since the braces were BENT by the force. And the cows were most definitely stomping on the fences and feed pans. The cows have always been interested in the chickens and spend a lot of time checking them out, but the worst they’ve done previously was lean against the fence. I really don’t know what could have caused it all.
Not that I don’t believe the chickens’ story or anything…. 😉