About three weeks ago we starting letting the chickens have full run of the orchard while we are at work. The "orchard" is a thin strip of land between the driveway and creek where we've planted a dozen fruit trees. There is a fence between the orchard and the driveway from the pole barn to the road, so the chickens (in theory) are trapped in.
One week after we let the ladies out to this new area my daughter said "you know mom, there's a place down at the road where the chickens could get out." I asked how she new that and she replied that she had tried to wiggle under the fence when she was six, but couldn't quite fit. As we drove by on the way to the store I noticed the spot she was referring to. It was about 1 ft high and 2 ft wide where the land starts to slope downward to the creek. And while the chickens could physically get out there, it seemed unlikely they would get all the way to the road and find that particular whole. How wrong I was.
Today my parents stopped by to pick up some Christmas decorations we were storing in the barn loft. They turned on to the driveway and discovered that two chickens (Pearl and George) were on the wrong side of the fence. They were freaked out and couldn't figure how to get back in. Chickens are not very bright. My parents stopped the car. Dad was easily able to catch Pearl - she is very friendly and likes to be held. George on the other hand would really rather not be touched. She also gets cranky when you try to catch her and she may scratch and peck. I think it's partly because she was given a boy's name. George was no match for my dad.
With them both back in with the other hens my parents decided to block the whole with some downed tree limbs - courtesy of our most recent wind storm. I think we'll just relegate the chickens to their run until this weekend when we can actually fix the opening.