Nick read like 5 chicken books before embarking on this adventure and found this plan for a chicken pen for his liking. We move it twice a day over the land that will be next year's patch; this way the fertilizer goes right where we want it w/out ever having to scoop up poo!
You put the water into buckets that sit up top and it trickles into a hanging waterholder. Pretty nifty.
Well then Gimpy (we named him for obvious reasons) starting acting like he couldn't walk. Everytime we wanted to move the pen, he wouldn't move and if he tried to move he really struggled. We had to pick him up. Why do I think it was acting?
I made Gimpy his own area under a tree. He stayed there 2 days and third morning was gone. I thought he got eaten! Well 2 pm I was out in the patch working and heard SNAP. The livetrap had gone off! I thought we caught a cat. Nope it was Gimpy trying to get back into his pen (he knew where the food was haha). HILARIOUS!! Gimpy went on 3 more "field" trips staging his escape when it was dark and coming back by the next evening. By the 3rd trip, I figured out Gimpy could indeed walk VERY well, in fact RUN really FAST (I had to chase him to catch him). I put him back with the others.
But this story has a sad ending. By time Nick got home from Washington, Gimpy starting pretending he couldn't walk again. Nick decided to put him back in his "area" (against my wishes) and Gimpy diappeared with nothing but a trace of feathers a few days later. Nick thinks it was a skunk but I refuse to believe skunks eat chickens (we caught a baby skunk in the trap the night Gimpy got eaten). Who knows!