So, after the debacle with the greenhouse on Sunday, and reassurance from the farming community yesterday, this morning was spent taking the plastic off the defunct frame so that I can reuse it on a sturdier frame. While I was trucking the remains of the greenhouse back to the shed, I discovered the feathery remains of a chicken. I do not see a body, but the exploded-chicken look is strongly reminiscent of the last encounter with a fox. I’m quite sure that the chicken is an ex-chicken.
This causes me to rethink my approach to free-ranging the chickens, especially as 1) my daughter rolled in chicken poop in the middle of the lawn the other day, and 2) the chickens are proving nearly impossible to keep out of the gardens. I think I need about a five foot wall to exclude the chickens, and the first pass is only four feet tall. It seems to me that I could fence in 1/4 acre or so for the critters, rather than needing to fence all the garden beds and the children’s play space.
I’m thinking it might be time to divest ourselves of about 2/3 of the chickens and get back down to the number that feed us and a couple of immediate friends. They really are more trouble than they are worth, since I calculate that they are paying off at about $5 per chicken per month, and doing about that much damage to the vegetable garden. Even if they didn’t do things like skeletonize the chard bed just when it was ready to take to market, dig up the garlic, and eat all the baby spinach that we’ve been growing since last autumn, the chicken care work would only pay about $2 per hour. Add in the damage, and the extra effort on containment, and we’re almost certainly losing money. In my ever-articulate style, “Flurm,” is about all I have to say.