You may remember Amelia, our adventurous, flying-out-of-the-pen chicken.
Amelia did not appreciate the confinement of the chicken yard or the orchard – no matter how much lush green grass was available. She preferred to fly out and blaze her own path, venturing into the woods and all around the yard. This small barred rock was not intimidated by creatures much bigger than her, she boldly approached them and pestered them over their bones.
Unfortunately for Amelia, her adventurous spirit took her to my perennial beds filled with strawberries and asparagus. I overlooked the first incursion. There was not too much damage to the plants and I assumed she had learned from this experience. I assumed wrong. After her second forray into my asparagus and strawberries, we decided enough was enough.
I know what you are thinking. When we decided enough was enough with Bernardette, I mean Bernard, he ended up in the frying pan.
Luckily for Amelia, she lays eggs on a regular basis. An accomplishment which Bernard the rooster did not have in his repertoire. So we did not put her in the frying pan. We did however clip her wings. Actually just one wing.
I would like to insert a photo here of her wing feathers being clipped, but Rick was holding her and I cut the feathers off so I had no hands left to take a picture. You’ll just have to trust me, I whacked off about three inches of the feathers on one wing. Snipped them right off with the scissors.
I would like to explain here about the aerodynamic properties of chicken wings and flight. Lift and thrust and struts and drag and rudders and all that. I was going to call Brandon, Megan’s aerospace engineering student boyfriend, to get all the proper terminology.
However I decided since it was finals and he also has a job and is preparing to move, maybe Brandon might have better things to do than discuss chicken flying aerodynamics with me. So, I will just have to tell you that whacking off the ends of the feathers on only one side of the chicken apparently throws the whole flying thing off kilter, and the chicken can no longer fly over the fence. Which is the whole point in clipping their wings.
I would like to point out that the chicken yard to which she and the other girls are now confined is not a bad place to be. It is safe from predators and has fresh new grass as well as all the left over seeds I had. There are some fava beans in there, peas, lettuce and other chicken delicacies.
We seeded this area a couple of months ago and put some old straw mulch on top. It has come up really well and all the girls are happy to be there – except Amelia.
So, my asparagus and strawberries are saved from chicken predators. The girls are safely ensconced in their new chicken yard, and the orchard where they were previously free-ranging is now de-thatched and fertilized and will probably be ready for them to rotate back there in a month or so.
Everyone is happy. Except Amelia, who is grounded.