The Other Side of The Fence


It’s Under Control

Not but a short while ago, the chickens – on one side of the fence – had their personal acreage (and quite a bit of it) and the dogs, on the other side of the fence, had theirs.  There were occasional angst-filled moments when the  demarcated territories were breached and all hell broke loose (mostly from me.) There was also some concern about how best to expand the chicken side of the fence to accommodate more pine trees. The hot and humid summer this year revealed a definite need to provide unsupervised continuous shade throughout the day and unencumbered cool eastern lake breezes – characteristics that were lacking with the existing configuration. Plus, frolicking and foraging under the thick overhead forest pines much better protect the flock from any winged predators.

Since I did not raise the chickens from chickhood (nor the dogs from puppyhood), I wasn’t sure if it was reasonable for me to even hope for the idyllic family-ish species integration that many other bloggers enjoy and subsequently show-off  share.

I won’t deny it. I not-so-secretly have coveted the idea of chickens hanging out with dogs, maybe napping next to them in a sun drenched 3 season room. Or chickens walking leisurely into the kitchen for a snack. Or maybe a companion chicken  hopping  on my lap and nestling in for some petting. Better yet, all the chickens vying for a bit of human affection. Where do I get these images? From other chicken people!  Some chicken folks actually have these experiences.

Then one day – recently, something happened. The dogs were laying in the grass near and  on their side of the fence and the chickens were hanging out near and on their side of the fence. It was A moment – THE moment. I opened the gate and relinquished control. The chickens gingerly, cautiously walked out and past the laying dogs and then… raaannn under the pine trees. The dogs observed, but didn’t move.

Since the milestone moment, the chickens and dogs have managed to work it all out by themselves quite nicely without any fear based human interference to agitate things. There have been some pretty awesome moments between them  -  still uncaptured by camera. Getting a decent Kodak moment is a matter of timing, as we all know. Early every morning, I open the chicken gate and the flock — on their own accord — spend the entire day on the dogs side of the fence…which happens to have a bunch of pine trees and excellent cool eastern lake breezes (not that it matters now), and the house, and the deck and front yard, and where any action tends to be.

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Do they lie next to the dogs, stroll into the house, or jump on my lap for a snuggle? No.  But for now, the chickens choose to hang out, forage, and frolic on the other side of the fence.

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