Troubleshooting chicken moats
This year, Mark build a bunch
of chicken pastures that act as moats around a large portion of
the garden. I love the moats --- they keep the deer out, make the
edges distinct, and just make me feel relaxed. We have had a
couple of issues, though, that I'd like to remedy before boxing in the
rest of the boundary.
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Lucy's job is to patrol
the perimeter, and that's a bit tough when she can't get there.
We started to notice gaps
gnawed in our fences,
and then realized that Lucy was making bolt-holes so she can spring off
in any direction to reach the edges of our homestead
lickety-split. The trouble is that deer and chickens come in
those holes and end up in the garden, which defeats the purpose of the
moats. Surely there's a way to give Lucy better access to the
perimeter without compromising our fences, but I'm not sure what it
would be. I was pondering stiles (like in the photo above), but
an agile chicken or (if we go there) goat could prance over top just as
easily as a dog could. As crazy as it sounds, I'm now thinking of
installing dog doors in select locations in the pasture fences, but any
other ideas would be appreciated as well.
chicken problem is similar to Lucy's dilemma. Since we started
letting our chickens free
range, we've had chickens stuck partway home multiple times.
As dusk falls, chickens seem to use a compass sense (maybe based on
magnetism?) to figure out how to shorten their peregrination and head
straight back to the coop. The problem is that there's often a
fence in their way, so they end up huddled in a corner, not realizing
that if they simply walked at right angles for a few feet, they could
get home. The chickens do seem to learn the terrain after a
while, so we might just have to plan on leading chickens home a few
times when they start free ranging. Maybe another solution would
be to make all exterior fences convex instead of concave?
I'm curious to hear some
creative solutions to our moat problems, so I hope you'll leave a
comment with your ideas!