The downside of having free range chickens is that they don’t recognize property lines. For the most part, my neighbors do not mind. However; there are times when you must have some very good relationship skills.
It is spring which is planting time. I have volunteered to purchase and install fencing around my neighbors large garden. They declined because they already have the fencing which they use to keep wildlife out. So I volunteered to go over and help put it up – they said absolutely not, it was no problem.
Crisis averted! Except . . .
Little Miss M who lives next door and is 2ish brought home pansies from church. Miss M and her mom, NeighborR, planted them immediately. Later that day NeighborR noticed that the chickens had been rooting around near the flowers and accidentally had one pulled out. She quickly replanted before Miss M noticed. Whew!
The next day as they pulled into the driveway – cripeys! The flowers were GONE! Not just pulled out at the root or rearranged, but eaten – every last tasty morsel. And the evidence was right there on the ground, it was those dang neighbor chickens. Miss M saw her flowers gone and began BAWLING. Completely inconsolable over the loss of her beautiful flowers. When her mother told me the next day about what had happened I was very apologetic and her Mom was understanding – saying Miss M was probably TOTALLY over it by now anyway.
Well that wasn’t acceptable to me. I stopped to purchase a small easily installed garden fence and a dozen pansies. Then I went home and wrote a note:
Dear Miss M:
We are sorry we ate your flowers. Mommy says we must “be have” or we will be chicken soup. Love Whitey & the Girls
I left all this on the steps into the house. While they were out, Miss M fell asleep so only her parents saw the surprise when they got home. The next morning while waking her, they told her there was a surprise waiting for her. Miss M wanted to know what kind of surprise.
Her Dad said, “the chickens brought you flowers.”
“The chickens can’t bring me flowers, they don’t have hands!” replied Miss M.
Miss M’s Mom said, “Well it was their mommy.”
“Oh, you mean Hat’s Mom.” replied Miss M.
All is forgiven and Miss M is thrilled with her chicken (free) garden. Just because we live in the country doesn’t mean we respect each others space any less. If anything, our respect for the land should increase our respect for our neighbors who love it the same way we do. My chickens continue to roam our little cluster of friends and I have to wonder, without the animals, would the friendships be as strong. I have little in common with my neighbors other than their children love my animals. It is such a blessing for me to be included in the lives of these wonderful families it has made all the changes so much easier to endure. Actually, not so much endure and celebrate being in a better place in my life. And each of them have certainly contributed to it being a better place.