OK it was more potentially time-consuming and annoying nuisance than true disaster but still, I’m glad we averted it.
This afternoon husband fired up the Big Green Egg to smoke up a little football night chicken. Cooking meat at a low temperature on The Egg requires frequent baby-sitting trips to adjust dampers and vents, so he was spending a lot of time on the deck which overlooks Fort Peepage.
I had just returned from doing some work with Zip and Charlie when Mark came in with a concerned look on his face. “We’ve got a chicken in the woods,” he said. “Whose chicken?” I asked. “Ours,” he replied. Of course I should have known that it was our chicken but we had just clipped everybody’s wings a few days ago and I thought it would be enough to keep them in. Apparently I was mistaken, so I told husband to take Audie and head down to the yard while I went to go get some grain.
I met husband and dog in the backyard where we hatched our plan. I spread some grain by the back gate so the rest of the flock would gather there. Then I took the bucket and headed out toward the woods where Pansy* was running along the outside of the fence.
Complicating matters, the area outside our fence is not only steeper than a horse’s face, it’s also covered in a thick mass of brush, bramble and poison ivy. As I was wondering how I’d lure the batty pullet out of the brush Audie took the initiative and ran over to the fence. With minimal direction from Mark, Audie used gaze pressure to drive Pansy along the fence toward me. Once she got close I showed her the bucket of grain – but, of course this had to be Pansy - the wildest, flightiest bird in the flock – and grain be damned, this girl had no intention to approach me whatsoever. Fortunately Audie saw her balk and he put the pressure back on. I backed away so she’d move past me, then moved in to drive her toward the gate – which my vigilant husband opened just as she approached. Audie backed up, I moved in and Pansy darted through the gate, keening in excitement as she re-joined the flock.
Total time elapsed – approximately ten minutes. A quick, and relatively painless job. But… if we had had to do this without Audie I might have given up and just let Pansy find her own damn way back.
I *heart* my dog. And my husband.
* Pansy – Named not for the flower but for her fearful, flighty, sissy ways. She’s not my favorite chicken. Neither is Serena, who in an amusing twist of fate, has turned out to be the mean one.