Around March, we started having problems with one of the dog doors
that leads from our core homestead into the outside world. These
doors are in place so Lucy can quickly get through our chicken fencing
and scare off predators without gnawing holes in the chicken wire and
letting chickens into the garden. For years, the dog doors had
worked as planned, but then one Red Star
figured the door out and began pushing through so she could scratch up
the garden. At such a critical time of year, I have a
zero-tolerance policy about chickens in the garden, so I covered the dog
door with a wheelbarrow for the weekend, then set Mark to fix the
problem first thing Monday morning.
Mark’s first thought was
to add some wooden pieces to the bottom of the dog door to weigh it down
so a big dog could push through but a little chicken couldn’t. I
thought his idea was brilliant,
so I was very sad to see not one but two chickens in the garden the
next morning. “Add more weight,” I told Mark, “or those hens are
going to be dinner!”
Once again, Mark weighted
the door…and once again, chickens still ended up in the garden.
I was tearing out my hair and planning the evening’s menu when Mark
took a closer look at the problem area. “Did you notice those big
holes in the fence on either side of the dog door?” he asked. It
turned out that when I covered the dog door with the wheelbarrow that
first day, Lucy gnawed her way through the sides since she was so used
to using that spot as an escape hatch. Mark’s weights did no good
because the chickens were no longer going through the door, they were
running right through the holes!
Holes filled in and
weights still in place, suddenly the garden was once again a
chicken-free zone. Phew! Note to self, look at the problem area carefully rather than just assuming I know how chickens are getting in.