Thursday, August 12, 2010

Escape From The Pen

There are many comings and goings at the Willoughby place, this week. After mentioning to a friend that I wanted some chicks, well, be careful what you wish for. Someone showed up and offered me 3 chicks. And have you ever known me to turn down a baby? The problem was, I wasn't prepared to house chicks. My bantam pen is chain link, and chicks can walk right through that. I had picked up a good sized roll of 1" chicken wire, on Freecycle, but hadn't installed it yet. I needed a baby pen, and pronto. I had to be back at work in a couple of minutes. Hmmmmm...gazing around the garage I spied this old folding dog run. The kind that you can shape into many configurations, and the sides are secured with clips. It seemed like it would work, temporarily. The openings are 1.5" wide by 6" tall.

The chicks are much wider than 1.5". I put them into the pen and placed the top to one of the square plastic compost bins on the top of it. Added a paver to that, for weight, and called it good. The babies tried to push through but would stop at about their shoulders and remained in the pen for 3 hours. I felt confident that they were secured, and left for pipe club. I returned home at approximately 10pm. I immediately headed for the backyard to check on the chicks. There, sitting atop the OUTSIDE of the coop, on top of the nesting box, was the brown baby chick. Uh oh, that's not good. The coop is not inside the run. I looked into the run and there were no babies in their little playpen. But there was one ON TOP of the lid that was on the little makeshift pen. I grabbed both those chicks and quickly stuffed them into the coop. But where was the third baby? By this time I'm starting to panic. The husband fetches a flashlight and I open the nesting box to peer into the coop. And there's the third baby, all safe and sound. I let out a huge sigh of relief. Especially when I noticed that my ginormous Siamese cat, Singha, has been in the backyard all along. It is a miracle that he didn't get the baby that was completely outside the pen and on top of the coop. Singha is an excellent hunter who has caught (and shredded) pigeons and frequently plays with rats, until they can't play anymore. If you know what I mean. The husband, ever the comforter, says he knew that Singha didn't get a chick, because there would've been feathers all over the backyard. Thanks honey. He also says the reason Singha didn't get the baby was because he knows the chickens are "momma's" and mom will be really pissed if he kills one. Whatever his cat reasoning, I am so thankful he was a good kitty last night. And I learned that apparently chicks are squishy, like mice, and can fit through incredibly tight spots.

Guess what I did, first thing this morning? That's right! You're so smart. I put that chicken wire all around the inside of the run. Now it's baby proof. And my knee hurts. And my hands are all scratched up. But the chicks are safe. There is still a little gap where the gate closes, but I place a board and a paver against it, and they can't get out. Here are the little Houdini's. You can see that the 1" chicken wire is doing the trick.

No comments: