Light Sussex at my brother’s house, I was able to let the rest
of the flock out to free range in the floodplain again. Imagine
my chagrin to find chickens inside random pastures and in the garden in
short order. Drat!
I soon found the problem
— our dog had build doggie doors in various fences to expedite her
patrols. Lucy’s boltholes turned into chicken doors, allowing the
flock to go wherever they wanted rather than just where I wanted.
a short span of electric fence to train Lucy away from these problem
areas in the past,
but she always finds a new spot to burrow through. After fixing
about a dozen dog holes in the past year, I decided it was time to try
a new strategy — making real doggie doors in the fences so that Lucy
could pass through but the chickens couldn’t. After all, it is a
bit much to ask of our sentry that she run in huge loops around our chicken moats every time she wants to get
from point A to point B.
Mark threw together a
doggie door quite easily out of a bit of lumber (treated since it’ll be
in contact with the earth) and an old carpet. He doubled up the
carpet and put a small piece of wood at the bottom to increase the
weight, making it less likely that a critter smaller than our hefty dog
could push through.
Training Lucy to go
through the door was pretty simple. Mark stood on one side and I
stood on the other, both with treats in hand. “Come on Lucy, good
girl!” called the master on the far side of the fence while flicking up
the edge of the carpet so Lucy could see through. I’ll admit that
Lucy accidentally ran all the way around the barn once during the
training episode, but she soon caught on and went through the door
without any help from us.
Only time will tell
whether this dog door prevents Lucy from tearing apart the pasture
fences. If no new holes show up in the next week or two, I’ll
have Mark install a couple more to make Lucy’s rounds even easier, and
then we may be able to sit back and relax as pasturing season rolls
healthier with unlimited clean water.