I was roused this morning by Cory running into the bedroom and exclaiming, "The chickens' door is open!" Yes indeed it was, again, and the boldest of our hens was out wandering on the lawn. She must have figured out how to get the door to open by rapping on it with her beak and wiggling the latch loose. I should have known, since it's happened several times now - should have added some duct tape! But I didn't think it would happen regularly. Now I think she's got it quite figured out.
She didn't want to be caught this time, and the other hens eventually started venturing out when I left the door open hopefully. So finally closed them back in there and decided to wait until evening when hopefully our Alpha Hen would decide she wanted the safety of the hen house again.
Unfortunately, by evening she had discovered she could climb the deck steps and get to some very delectable young green beans, strawberry flowers, and other treats in our deck garden. Once she figured that out, nothing would deter her. I tried putting up a barricade in front of the steps, which she wiggled through. And when I reinforced it, she decided to just fly over it! So then I knew I had to catch her and put her back in the chicken tractor. I was not going to lose our precious few veggie plants to a silly hen on the lam - no indeed. She must have sensed that I was done having her out and about, because she actually settled into one spot (on the deck, of course) and let me come up behind her and eventually nab her, with just a minimum of squawing and protest.
She was not happy to be popped back into her "hen jail" though. Kept trying to fly out through the chicken wire, poor thing. But Dad is coming to the rescuse tomorrow with the new, bigger chicken tractor so it won't be for long. I'm relieved that our plants are safe, and that all the hens are back in a safe place for the night. Whew.