inct is a funny thing. We all know about the eating, breeding, survival instincts.. but I’m beginning to wonder if needing one’s freedom isn’t an instinct as well. Have you ever noticed that? The one time I visited a women’s prison for a school project the only thought I had was, “I’ve got to get out of here immediately” — and I was only in there an hour! All of my animals seek out freedom every day – no matter how posh their accommodations.
The chickens squawk and mutter until they get to leave the hen house. Then they haul ass across the backyard like their tails are on fire! They have free-roam of the entire five acre back yard, but the only place they want to scratch and explore is the fenced off front yard. I build fences, I create barriers, I clip wings, but they continue to find creative ways out of their backyard “jail”. Yet when they are cold or hungry… back they toddle to the hen house for the night all on their own.
Now, the goats I understand a little better. I did lock them up in that barn for two months during Goat Obedience Training. But they have a beautiful fenced in green area where they can run, play, frolic and still be safe from the coyotes. They got out the first day of the new fence unveiling and twice since then. They bolt through the gates and run to the farthest point of the field for half a day. Then they mosey back down to their favorite tree for a nap. That evening they come down to the house for their nighttime apple snack and check-in. A couple of days later they get cold and come back to the barn where they stay safely penned in until the next escape attempt.
Then, of course, there are the cats. Cats don’t exactly have a reputation for staying happily indoors. Especially not mine and especially not in the evening. But kitty curfew is 8 pm at the Art Farm. All the cat doors get locked to keep the hunters from being hunted, and to keep the skunks out of the basement (an added bonus). They pace and meow and nuzzle and beg to be let out. It isn’t as if they couldn’t go in and out 1000 times that day, or tomorrow for that matter. They just need to be out at that moment. As soon as the doors close. And in the morning, when all the breakfast is gone they are at it again. So I unlock their door, they check it with their nose and go back to sleep.
Maybe its just their routine. Maybe its curiosity. Or maybe the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence!