Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Our flock's Christopher Columbus

Our flock's Christopher Columbus is in fact Christine Columbus.

Here she is, our Explorer-in-Chief:
Christine Columbus enjoying view from the roof of an old coop.
Our chickens were never supposed to walk on the roof.
The view must be lovely though. 

"My chickens fly the sky." This is a motto of our friend Mr. Kanno, a farmer in Yamagata prefecture. I have always liked this motto because it's so poetic. Chickens are not just economic animals, they are also romantic flying creatures.

I recently recalled this phrase because now I can proudly announce that

Our chickens fly the sky too!

Christine Columbus perching on a pipe 3 meters 
above the ground. No one helped her there. 

I'm very happy for them and I'm proud of them. Our chickens fly the sky!

But it is also a problem.  

I'm all for the romance and the poetry of flying chickens, but in reality when your chickens can fly too well, it becomes a problem.

It is a problem because the chickens can now fly away.

They fly over the fence and wander into areas where they are not supposed to go. In the evening they do come back home (or at least close to the home) but while they are wandering and exploring the outer world during the day, they are witnessed by all of our neighbors, strolling around on other people's property. On Japanese countryside, it is considered good manners to respect the boundaries between your land and someone else's land, even if the trespasser is just an innocent chicken.

Christine Columbus exploring public road.
Christine Columbus exploring neighbor's rice field. 
(Just to make sure you're looking at the right spot.)

Christine Columbus captured at the very moment of 
trespassing to neighbor's property.
Chickens' exploration beyond our farm's borders is unacceptable for several reasons:  
1. because they might cause meiwaku (inconvenience) to the neighbors (though it's hard to imagine what inconvenience that could be), 
2. because they might get attacked by a chicken enemy, 
3. because it violates local manners, which dictate that you respect property boundaries of your neighbor.

It also makes an impression that we are not in control of our own farm. Right now this is a correct impression, but it's not good to be viewed in this light for too long.

That's why we have to prevent our chickens from flying beyond the farm boundaries. We've tried several tactics and it seems we have partly succeeded. There used to be two or three Christine Columbuses every day, but now there's just one or none a day. I would call that a success. Until they invent new ways ....

Hopefully (or regrettably) I will not be able 
to take pictures like this any more...
And so our flying chickens place before me a dilemma. On the one hand I'm proud of them for their extraordinary flying skills and exploratory aspirations, on the other hand I have to prevent them from strolling around on the road or the neighbor's field. 

Life is full of contradictions. Sigh.