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We were lucky enough to run across twenty-one hens that needed new humans. We have dubbed the newbies as “The Others”. The original thirteen chickens we had we now call the “Regal Rignals”. The Others are a rag tag bunch, and look kind of rough. The Regal Rignals look like royalty in the chicken world. For the first week or so, we set up The Others a make shift pen and yard a ways away from the Regal Rignals.

Sunday we moved the pen up to the Regal Rignals yard, and decided it was time to introduce them all and have one big ole happy flock.

The pen is a dog pen we obtained second hand, with the intent of corralling the Devil Dog. He sure hated being in that pen, but it served it’s purpose well.

There was just one small problem with using the pen for the Devil Dog in that the fencing on one side had a hole in it. Nothing that a scrap of old fence wouldn’t fix. Now when using it as a hut for The Others, it worked out perfectly, gave them a door to walk through, leaving the gate for human type entry. A few carefully placed snips of chicken wire, and viola, integrated chickens!

We covered the top with a tarp, to give them some shade, and hopefully get them out of the weather if need be. Put some old desk drawers in the floor for nesting boxes, which they quickly scratched the straw out of. Then used some 1×2’s to make them perches for sleeping on at night. You can see the remains of one that broke the first night. One small life lesson learned… fifteen or more chickens roosting on a single 1×2 will cause snappage in the middle of the night. Not to mention a very rude awakening for all trying to sleep on said roost. We made sure to double them up yesterday to try to prevent that trauma again.

Now we get to the BIG life lesson I learned the hard way this morning. G-Man had just pulled out of the drive for work, and deciding I wanted to “bond” with the new girls, I took a bucket of scratch out to throw for them.  The Regal Rignals know what it means when I step out the door, bucket in hand, and say “Hey Girrrrlllls!” They all come a runnin to see what tasty morsels I have to offer. I stepped into the yard, and used my handy dandy bungee cord to secure the door from the inside, and commenced to throwin my scratch. All the chickens were loving it, and came out of their respective spots to get some goodies. With empty bucket in hand, and happy chickens scratching, clucking and eating, I undid the bungee cord, and well… NOTHING… The durn door wouldn’t open no matter how hard I pushed or shook it or tried.

Now I ask you… WHAT are the odds that when I pulled that door closed from the inside that the latch would perfectly align itself (when I been fighting it for weeks now to do so) and the latch would go just far enough to catch on the turny thing, and prevent my exiting the chicken yard in a dignified manner? I once again experienced one of my “How in the world did I get myself into this mess” moments, as I gazed around our recently reinforced yard designed to keep critters in, and not allow escape.

I upended my bucket and sat myself down, and surveyed the situation. I debated just sitting there until someone noticed I was trapped… SURELY that wouldn’t take too many hours, right? I thought “Text the boy, let him come release me”, but of course the cell phone is in the house nice and safe. So I thought some more, and looked around for inspiration.

Then it came to me… The hole

Now I have to admit, when we came up with the plan to use the hole for The Others to enter the yard, I thought it was a great plan. Now looking at the hole from the other side of the fence, I noticed now small it seems.

Are you serious? It is so small that even The Others, who we think are considerably smaller than the Regal Rignals, have to duck their feathered little heads to get through the opening. Ahhhh well, it was my only choice to insure freedom by my own hand. So down on my belly I went, and learned something else at this point… When you are face to face with chickens, you are now on their level, and if you are stuck half way between the yard and the hut, they can sense your vulnerability and some will in deed peck at you to see if you might be tasty.

Once through the hole unscathed, except a few well placed pecks, and back on my feet inside The Others’ hut, I was able to finally exit through the gate with the dignity I truly feel I should have been able to exhibit from the beginning of the dilemma. The most important life lesson I learned the hard way today was to never ever enter any particular place without first having a viable, well thought out escape route. Well, that and to make sure the stick is in the turn thingy before I go into the yard again.