"Yeah. What's up now?!" were the words Aaron used to taunt Nina after getting her back into the coop.
I would say our average time to catch a chicken used to be about 20 minutes. We have been out of practice since the construction of the impenetrable fortress.
Remember that good idea I had to take Charlie up to the coop with me? It backfired yesterday morning. I was inside the fence with the ladies refreshing the food and water. They were a little more active than they usually are and I guess that intrigued Charlie. He was sniffing around the outside of the fence and got pretty excited, started running the perimeter and making noises that dogs make when they are excited. Nina got startled and went in the coop. Not all together a bad idea.
The day we bought bigger posts and concrete mix we also bought eye hooks, latches and bungee cords so that I could close my access door from the inside. That bag went missing.
Nina is in the coop. I am in the yard. Charlie is outside. The door is open.
Don't go outside. Don't go outside. "Don't go outside."
"Oh!" Nina thinks. "Go outside. All right. It is a little scary in here right now."
Charlie is on her six. She is running. She is flying. Charlie is running. I am screaming. "Charlie! No! No, Charlie!"
Nina somehow made it to safety - wherever that was. Charlie got distracted or disappointed, I am not sure which. Either way I got him in the house and started looking and listening for Nina.
Aaron and I walked around the front yard, the fence line, down the road... Nothing. I went to the other side of the fence and walked around my neighbor's yard. Nothing.
We walk back up the driveway and there she is. Just like she was that Friday afternoon. Calm, collected. We followed her as she made her way back to the coop, back to her friend. Now all we had to do was get her inside.
It might be 10 o'clock at this point and we had somewhere to be at 11:00. So instead of pushing her farther into the underbrush, we retreat. About 30 minutes later we check on her again. She is hanging out under the coop, talking with Queen Isabella. There was a lot of conversation between those two. Another unsuccessful chase and we head out.
We get back around 2:30 and try again, this time with Eric's help. We have Aaron with his homemade chicken catcher apparatus, Eric with the fishing net and me surrounded by testosterone wielding poles and nets. This approach was too aggressive. Again, we retreat.
Another hour goes by and Nina is back to the hen house probably scheming. It's two on one and the bird has the home field advantage. I don't think the briers and prickers bother her. She relies on them for protection. She made a mistake though. She couldn't go back the way she came - I was there. She couldn't go right or left - the underbrush was too thick. She ran out the front and thwap! Aaron got the net around her. Scooped her up and told her with gritted teeth, "Stop. Stop it. Calm down."
I unlatched the door. She walked out of the net and into the yard. I got in the coop with a drill and a latch. We shouldn't have this problem again.