So picture this. You’re driving down a rural highway in Indiana, and you see a white-haired old lady hobbling along the shoulder followed by a blind lady who’s carrying a dog food bowl with grain falling out of it. Behind the blind lady, you see a line of chickens busily pecking in the grass. Lastly, you see a police officer who appears to be involved a slow-speed chase. After all, chickens, a blind lady, and an old lady are such a threat to the safety of our county.
No, this isn’t the start of a good joke. It was the story of my life two weeks ago. Yes, I wish someone had recorded it for posterity because it was pretty funny, but today, I’m not laughing.
Why did the chickens cross the road? Mine didn’t. They weren’t even in the road. They were in the ditch alongside the road, but apparently, that earned me the honor of a fine from the county. That’s right! Apparently, the PD for the town I don’t even live in decided to call Animal Control. Now, the folks who showed up at my door were really nice and understanding, but I still ended up with a $20 fine for “livestock running at large”. That’s right! The blind lady’s chickens COULD go onto the roadway and someone MIGHT swerve to miss them and there MIGHT be an accident.
Now, I admit that we have a fence problem here. A neighbor altered our fence without providing proper anchoring and tension for the fence that remained, so as a result, the fence fell over during a bad wind storm a couple weeks ago. (We didn’t know until Fred looked at the fence after the chickens had escaped.) Fred tried to fix the fence temporarily, but it just fell again, so there is a problem that we have to address. But really? Is our little town so boring that you have to pester a blind lady about her chickens? They don’t seem to care when dogs are running at large killing my chickens, but they call Animal Control immediately to come handle me. I guess I’m a local menace.
So now I’m left with a bit of a dilemma. I have to figure out how to keep free-range chickens from going anywhere near the road. With previous flocks, it wasn’t an issue because those chickens never went within 200 feet of the road. These chickens, on the other hand, discovered the awesomeness of the ditch when we’ve had lot of rain, so they keep going back.
Our first stop-gap will be the use of safety fence to make visual and physical barriers. We’ll exclude them from the back yard so they can’t access the damaged fence, and we’ll run barriers along the highway on either side of our driveway to try and exclude the ditch. This definitely wasn’t in the plan for this weekend, but apparently local law enforcement had other ideas for us. I’m still shocked!
“Wings up! Don’t shoot! Chicken lives matter!”