Peaceful Boundary

hens2

There’s a big change at Coppertop! After struggling to keep our free-range hens out of flower beds for FOUR LONG YEARS, we finally decided to create a fenced area attached to their Chicken Mansion for them to free range in.

hens

Readers who have visited for a while know of our struggles and many attempts to avert the hens from garden sites we didn’t want them messing with. When they recently pushed aside my black netting and scratched apart some delphiniums, aquilegias, and heucheras raised from seed in mere minutes as they looked for good worms and bugs, I admit it, I cried. Hubby has been equally perturbed by the damage they caused in our gravel paths and mulched areas, which he spent large chunks of time raking and fixing. Maybe he’s been crying, too, but he hides it well.  These chickens are adorable and produce wonderful eggs, but they are destructive! No longer do the girls have complete freedom to frolic at Coppertop, and I’ll miss watching them run across expanses of lawn. What they now have is a generous 60×60 foot enclosure in part-sun part-shade, that is filled with all kinds of native plants and trees, good bugs, and an old compost pile (their favorite).

hens compost

The girls have adjusted well to their new boundary, and we are relishing the peace of mind we now have.

13 thoughts on “Peaceful Boundary

  1. I always wondered how you did that all these years. As much as I like the idea of free range, it never would happen in my garden. I’d have cried, too! (Or thrown a tantrum. 😉 ) They have a good run now and will probably be just as content.

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  2. Oh, they look none too happy about this. I really dislike fences, but have used them for years to keep deep from the camellias. We referred to the caged areas as ‘camellia prison’. They are more tolerable at the farm, but I really would not want them in or even near a garden.

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    • Deer live outside our couple of fenced acres quite happily and we garden to our heart’s content inside the fence. The new 4′ boundary fence for hens is unobtrusive and not even visible unless you walk right up to it. A win!

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      • The fence around the farm was mostly put out at a distance so that it would not be too obtrusive. I still dislike it. Neighbors who had walked through longer than anyone can remember turn around and go back when they get to the gate, as if they are no longer welcome. Years ago, when we grew only rhododendrons, azaleas and pieris, there was no need for a fence.

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  3. This is just fine for them. They can’t help themselves. They are doing chicken doins. I have seem a couple of places where they made elaborate runs for their chickens. The chicken are healthy and everyone will be happier.

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  4. I remember visiting a goat farm with a lot of free ranged chickens. There were eggs sitting everywhere. I couldn’t figure out how they found the eggs to pick them up. Ours have a coop and a run, and the eggs are in the nest boxes – we keep it simple. Your chicken coop is beautiful, and I can only imagine your girls are quite happy in their new large but fenced in environment plus they’re probably safer. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Judy, for reminding me that they are happy hens — and they truly are, even though I feel like a ogre for containing them. The girls have always returned to their nesting boxes, running quickly from wherever they’re roaming, in order to lay. That wasn’t an issue for us. Except one time a year ago, when we found 9 eggs in a pile beneath an area of hostas! Those we cooked up for the beagle. That’s the other thing, if hens layed all over, our dog would be eating all the eggs!

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