Earlier this morning I was out in the barn, finishing up with the horses, when I thought I saw chickens outside of the chicken coop! I headed over to investigate, and sure enough, about 25 pullets, including the little 8 week olds, were gallavanting about outside the chicken coop. I quickly found their escape route. The netting on the door to the chicken coop has been torn for a few days, and I've been using a wire sheet to block it. But last night's storms knocked over the sheet, and most of my girls (and one of my boys) thought it would be fun to go play in the grass outside the coop. So I spent the next hour catching chickens. Most of them weren't too difficult, as the chickens are all hand-raised and relatively people-friendly, but on EE pullet just did NOT want me to catch her. She took about 20-30 minutes to catch. I used methods such as catching the chickens one by one, shooing them back in through their escape hole, and telling them to go back in (that one didn't work so well ). But the most effective was opening up the door completely and putting treats inside. That alone brought about 10 back in. The dogs were out too, but luckily they had just eaten breakfast and weren't too interested. All the pullets (and Charlie, the rooster) are safely back inside the coop. They should be grateful, but they just think I ruined all their fun. By the way, the reason the chickens aren't allowed to be out is because we run a therapeutic riding program at my house, and they are just a pain if not cooped up. I don't know why they had any desire to leave the coop-they have plenty of space, food and water. They have a shade tree, a "chicken igloo" made of pallets for climbing and shade, and of course the big indoor part. I'm guessing the little 8 week old Buff orpington pullets are the ones who showed the others how to get out. They are the ones who "showed" me the escape hole a few days ago. Little boogers. Well, I just felt like ranting a little. Not too happy with the chickens right now- the pullets haven't started laying, so I'm a little strung out waiting for that, and then their little escape stunt to top it all off. Sigh.