The Chickens and the Bear

New here are ten chickens.  While their antics are amusing enough, we had some excitement the second morning after their arrival when we found a foot wide hole ripped in the side of their Chicken Tractor shelter.  If you recall our problems with raccoons from last year, the Chicken Tractor had its chicken wire walls reinforced with expanded metal lath.  The lath was a strong, protective layer.  This was ripped open!  Neither a raccoon nor a fisher could tear through such a defense.

Our theory was that a bear had done it and that it had hurt itself on the 40 or more tiny knives that the torn lath became.  At least that was our best guess as to why all the chickens were present and unharmed.

The enclosure was repaired.  The next night, Tim forgot something in his truck.  When he went to retrieve it, he heard the bear scrambling out of the garden.  He chased after it, making as much noise as he could, driving it up a near by tree where they made direct eye contact. This was definitely a bear and it was duly intimidated.  

Tim came for help.  When we followed him to the garden we could hear the crackling of branches fading into the distance as the bear retreated.  We gathered up all the chickens, put them in the capped back of the truck (outfitted with a nice bed of hay) and drove them up to beside the woodwork shop for the night.

The next day we corralled the chickens back into the lower garden and collected them all again that night into their 'truck coup', which was moved to more civilized territory. Back to the garden the next day it was obvious that this amount of effort could not be maintained.  Tim, Ryan & Robin further fortified the Chicken Tractor with some chain-link fencing.  It now takes four people to move it, but we feel that it is secure.

The bear, it seems, was sufficiently traumatized by its encounter with us and the metal lath that no sign has been seen of it in the week since.  The chickens are well & now range outside the fencing during the day. They can be seen in the field, up and down the driveway, around the house and everywhere else that we look about, except the gardens, which are both fenced against unwanted wildlife (bears not withstanding).

If you come to visit, don't worry about the bear.  The first thing that a Black Bear does when it hears or sees a human is run off in the opposite direction.