I believe I left off where we found our house and were on the move.
Even though the girls weren't used to a vast amount of room, downsizing into a fenced area behind the garage was not their idea of a good time at all. I had to put them there until we could get fencing...had to. I did begin to let them out a couple of hours in the evening once they knew what was going on and this was home now. If you let them out in the evening they naturally will put themselves up once it starts to get dark...then I just close the gate and they are safe for the night. A few rebel girls would decide they could fly the fence so I had to trim their wings, but mostly they were good girls.
The americaunas were still young and on the light side so they could fly over easily so I had to put them in a seperate covered pen for a while.
I really hated that everyone had to stay penned, but I had already seen that people out here let their dogs run loose. Once the neighbors dogs packed up and attacked one of my sussex right next to the front porch. I can't begin to tell you how freaked out I was. You have to remember, these girls are not just yard chickens, they are my pets. I found a pile of feathers but no bird. I assumed they had taken off with her in mouth. I was roaming the area...crying, looking for those damn dogs which had conveniently disappeared. I went knocking on doors of the owners of the dogs, distraught and mad as hell. I let them know what happened and that this was NOT going to happen again...not knowing what I was going to do to prevent it, I just knew I was mad and not going to take it anymore. Yeah...right. That was just the beginning. I had pens torn into, dog doo doo on my driveway regularly, dog doo doo by the pool deck regularly.
We were still trying to sell the old house, and until it was sold, there was just no money to get a fence around our property, so I had to do the best I could with what we had and keep the girls up all of the time. I really hated it for them and tried to remember it was only temporary. All this space and they had to be kept up...I was not happy about it and neither were they.
Welcome to the country...where you have to take care of your own problems. I got tough, hard hearted. I realized that none of these dog owners were going to respect my property. I bought a pellet gun, and I used it, regularly. If I caught a dog on my property I was pinging some dog butt. Funny,really, that I thought my main problem would be wild predators. Fox, coyote, that sort of thing. Nope. Just irresponsible dog owners.
Funny thing, the old guy was harboring strays next door, three in his garage, and then had two dogs of his own in the house that roamed regularly too. He fell very ill, may even have passed on now as his family lives there now. No more dogs, but, when the old mans dog was let out to wander, I would catch him coming over here to poop...once the relative of the old guy was outside, allowing this, I came walking out and cocking that gun, hollering "GIT OFF MY PROPERTY...QUIT SH*TTIN' IN MY YARD" as I aimed and shot at the dogs butt. He called the dog back and I never had that problem again.
Anyway...I got sidetracked didnt I..but I had to set the scene. Living in the country is wonderful, I could never go back to the city. You just have to take care of things differently out here. If you have a problem, you deal with it, sometimes quietly and discretely. Whatever it takes to protect you and yours on your land. Period.
Here are a couple of pictures where the poor girls are in chicken prison. Poor things. Things will change soon in the coming entries though..for the better.
I wanted to make one more note...looking back it may have been decieving by saying "next door neighbor". I have five and half acres and he has three and a half. The stretch between our doors is probably about three acres...so the dog had to come a ways to poo next to the pool deck. :(