At the beginning of my foray into domestic chicken farming, you may recall that my biggest worry was having to deal with the likelyhood of Raccoons breaking in to the coop. I was not anticipating having to deal with chickens breaking out of the coop. My two little fluffy bottomed sweeties are in Solitary Confinement at the moment, on account of a string of daring escapes. This all started a few weeks ago, when they would go walkabout down our road and into the neighbors garden. After the third time, I decided to take drastic action. I clipped the wing feathers so they couldn't fly over the fence. This worked for about 2 days, until they figured out that if they couldn't go over it, they were going to go under it. A little bit of digging and fence lifting provided enough space for them to squeeze through. I found them half way down our road feasting on the worms that come out after a heavy rain, and ushered them back into the enclosure.
I saw the gap, but didn't think they could get through there, so I watched to see how they managed it. Sure enough, they houdinied their way through the fence, and casually strolled up to me with a look that said, "Was that your best shot?"
We have lots of spare lumber around on account of our roof still being constructed, so I reinforced the bottom of fence with 2x6" planks and sat back to admire my work. I made a cup of tea and a sandwich and sat out on the porch to read. After a few minutes, I noticed something looking over my shoulder. The smaller of the two was sitting on the planter box behind the porch seat.
This is war, I thought. I was not about to be outsmarted by a chicken, so I put her back behind the fence and stood by to watch.
I didn't have to wait long. She ran over to the Laurel hedge that was forming one side of the pen and started to hop up the inside, using the lower branches as a ladder, until she had enough height to jump over the fence. I couldn't believe what I was seeing.
So now, I have the bottom of the hedge sealed off, the bottom of the fence battened down, and when their solitary is over, I hope we don't have any further break outs.
Occasionally, I can hear banging on the inside of the coop, so they are either bouncing base balls against the wall, or they are making a siege ladder for the ultimate escape.
Only time will tell