Every time we go by the brooder, the chickens, especially Stretch, like to look up and circle over to where we are. I look down at them and smile. It is nice to know that they are happy to see me too. When we lift the cardboard covering the bars on the front of the brooder, they naturally come over, curious as to what is happening. I hate to take pictures with the bars in the way, so I will lower the opening to take a clear shot of the action inside. The last time I did that Peaches took “flight” and tried to escape via the hatch.
Whoa! Back you go. What a fluke thing. I thought…. Well, I was wrong. They weren’t the cute, innocent, little chicks I thought they were. They weren’t looking up at us lovingly when we peered in either. They were waiting for me to move the screened top so they had a way out. Freedom. I am now looking at them like the smart, cunning velociraptors from the movie Jurassic Park. They crane their necks and look up at the screen covering the top, not to see us but to find a way out of their cage. See the similarity?
They check all the nooks in the brooder, sizing up the best route out. Learning where the weak spots were. And they found one when I go to clean the feed and water font. When I clean them, I slide the screen covering the top open to take it out and leave it open a bit. When I brought the water back, I saw this waiting for me:
Hatsy had jumped/flapped 22 inches to the top of the cage. I am amazed that she stuck the landing and did not fall over the side. I love how in the second picture she is looking down at her minions. Almost bragging that she made the jump and they didn’t. All the while Stretch and Peaches are jumping and flapping trying to get to the top too. Now, I look at this scenario and wonder, “do they purposely kick pine shavings into their water font so I will move the screen to clean it? Are they kicking out food and making a general mess to determine the length of time it takes me to recover the flooring and their window of time to jump out?” Possibly….. Sneaky little chicks!
Hatsy has tasted freedom and the others want that taste too. I am now on high alert because as far as I am concerned, a chick outside of the brooder is a dog snack. My Beagle mix pooches are very prey driven and they may not “eat” them but they will “play” with them. So for now, they are on full lockdown. Hopefully, the coop will be completed this weekend so they can move out with their heat lamp to more spacious “digs”. All that is left is nest boxes, the metal roof, and locks on all doors. Who knows what they could figure out if the locks were left out!