I could see the chickens from a great distance, and they seemed to have made it quite far into my yard from their initial illegal border crossing.
I could hear the neighbors calling to them from the distance: "Here chick--ee chickee. Here chick-ee chick-ee, chick-ee!" But if I had not herded them toward the fence, they probably would have stayed right there.
Shortly afterwards, they came right back. I was watching them from my kitchen window, and I thought I saw two dogs run right through the spot where the chickens were crossing and then disappear into my unmown pasture, which right now is more like a wildlife preserve than a pasture.
By the time I approached the chickens, the dogs were nowhere in sight, but they were on my property and not the neighbors'. And this fact seemed to embolden the chickens.
Now the chickens were not running so fast to get away from me. They were strolling at a leisurely pace.
They even paused for a short while by the new apple tree in the orchard. And even when they had crossed over to their own side of the fence, they just stood there and looked at me.
They seemed to be saying to themselves:"Let's wait right here until she leaves. Then we go back in!"
On my stroll back to the house, I was suddenly confronted by the neighbors' dogs, who came out of my overgrown pasture. One of them was my old friend Cowboy the Neighbor Dog. He is very well behaved. But his young and much bigger friend was much less socialized, and he actually dared to bark at me on my own land, as if I were the one who was trespassing.
When I glanced over at the other fence line, I saw the chickens were still there, on the other side of the fence, watching and waiting for the chance to cross back over. Were the dogs and the chickens from my neighbors' yard acting in concert? Was this a planned invasion?
Dogs and chickens can coexist and even work together. But it's not always the case. When I had chickens who were kept separately from my dogs, the dogs eventually got to them and killed them. Yet where chickens and dogs are allowed to roam free, coexistence does not seem to be such a problem.
Why is that? What can we learn from this about humans and chimpanzees?