Shortly after getting the fencing up I was driving along a nearby dirt run when a chicken ran across it. Why did the chicken cross the road? Inquiring minds wanted to know, so I stopped the car and followed the chicken to an abandoned farmhouse, where it was sitting on some eggs in a nest. The chicken was panting, and there was no water or anything chicken-friendly around. I took the chicken, eggs and nest home. My first chickens!
The eggs hatched. The house had eight kennel runs that the dogs didn’t use so we fenced the whole kennel in and put the chickens in it. Alas, this was not good enough for the chickens. As chickens are wont to do, they wanted more. Soon the chickens had the run of the 15 acres. Bobby (one of our salukis) killed the first one. By the way, tying a dead chicken to the dog by a rope, as suggested by Albert Payson Terhune, does in no way disgust the dog or cure him of chicken killing, but instead provides him bragging rights and moreover, provides immense entertainment to the other dogs when the chicken-dragger runs. I know this from first-hand experience. It also does not work well with doggie-doors or indoor-outdoor dogs.
The dogs continued to chase the chickens. This was no casual chicken chasing, but all-out catch-a-chicken-or-die-trying chicken chasing. Soon we had a dwindling chicken population and the dogs were confined to the house yard. The chickens had the run of the remaining 13 or so very expensive chicken acres. Even then, the chickens were not safe, as evidenced by the time I heard squawking and ran out to discover Patia lying down in the house yard with Rusty (the rooster) pinned beneath her paws as she methodically plucked him while he screamed.
This was not working out as planned.
So we put an ad in the paper to find the chickens a good home. We did not get many calls, but we finally found the chickens a home where we were assured they would live free and be pets. They lived nearby, so we could drive by and see them after we placed them. They were in a small coop at first---just until they acclimated, assured the new owners. But after two weeks, surely they'd had time to acclimate.
Thus it was we knocked on their door one day and demanded our chickens back because "they were not being kept in the manner to which they'd become accustomed." Yes, we actually used those words. The man stared as though he had to translate what we'd said, then blurted out, "They're chickens!" To his credit he helped us catch them.
We probably should have thought ahead a little more before pulling in and demanding our chickens. But we had not. So we loaded the now down to eight chickens into our mercedes sedan, where they fluttered about the back seat (and everywhere else) until we got home and let them go in the yard again. Regardless, a sedan was better than a coop.
Life returned to normal, with the dogs restricted to the house yard and occasionally killing a chicken until we found the chickens another home. This home did keep them as pets and they lived free and--um, well, kind of short--lives, as they were picked off by owls and raccoons and such.
People ask why we don't breed much. I just tell them the chicken story.