Why did our chickens cross the road?

The local council workers have brought a big machine down a back road to clean out the gutters. We live in a dirt road at the furthest end of the village. It seems to take several men standing around to watch the one man in the machine doing the work. I guess that a couple of them are ‘lollipop’ men, to control the flow and speed of the traffic. There are the two school busses and the steady flow of tradies going to work. the occasional delivery truck  and a steady flow of bigger trucks involved with a sub-dividsion closer to the village. It’s a busy section of street. I can hear the machine coming for 15 mins before it arrives here because of the ‘Beep’. ‘Beep’, ‘Beep’, very loud warning sound that it makes as it crawls along, using its bucket to scrape out the earth gutter. When it is just about level with our house. The driver finds two eucalypts that are unacceptably close to the gutter on the other side of the road. Maybe they are 6 to 8 metres high and dead straight. He pushes them over, snapping them off at the base. I see this happen, as I am up early watering the garden. Well, I’m trying to, but the water is slow to come out of the hose as it has frozen solid over night with the frost. The water just trickles out for the first 10 mins, until the water coming through slowly melts the ice, which shoots out in long thin slivers every now and then, with a spurt and a gurgle.

After the men have finished and moved on, I Collect the chain saws in the truck from down in the workshop and drive up along the road and start to saw up the couple of tree trunks, in situ, where they lay.  I measure off the exact length of the wood kiln firebox hobs and start to cut them off section by section. They are perfect diameters and lengths for firing. No splitting will be required. Janine hears the chain saw racket and comes out to help me load the sections of tree trunk into the ute as I finish cutting. We look up from our work to find that the chickens have arrived! I don’t know where they were, but they know the sound of the chainsaw and make a ‘Bee line’ for the sound. They know that there will be good pickings in amongst the wood. They have come running and crossed the road to where we are.

This is a disaster. Now they will think that it is OK for them to forage over here on this side of the road. We quickly clap our hands and try to scar them away, but they are not fooled so easily. They know that we love them and they couldn’t possibly be in any sort of trouble for coming over the road to ‘help’ us clean up? It’s like hearding cats, they duck and swerve back under the truck instead of going back across the road. Janine calls them from the compost heap to encourage them and I clap and chase them. Eventually we get them back onto our side of the road, and safely into another part of the garden.

I’ll have to be more careful in the future and do any cutting on the other side of the road when they are still locked in their house in the mornings. We don’t want them to think that the other side of the road is our land. It’s not. But mainly because they have absolutely no road sense at all, and are completely trusting of us in our cars around our block of land here, as we drive very carefully and slowly when the chickens are in around the vehicles. The will get skittled for sure if they hanging out on the road.

So now we know that chickens will cross a busy road if they think that there is a chain saw working on the other side. There just might be food involved.

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