When Chickens Escape


[Adele, possessed chicken.]

My brother, knowing that Sweet Husband was out of town and I'd been feeling under the weather, texted me early in the afternoon last Thursday, "Want me to come put the chickens away and take Moe for a walk?"

"Nah," I wrote back.  "Thanks, but it's no biggie."

When we eventually got home, though, the Kid was being clingy.  "Would you please carry me to the back yard?" he whined.  So I scooped him up, opened the gate, and put him down just inside.  Then I stepped back to the car--no more than 10 feet away--to grab my purse.

Bonnie and Adele must have been watching for days to have a chance.  Because in the 10 seconds it took me to gather up my bag and coat, they bolted out the fence and into our neighbor's  front yard.

"Just stay in the back yard!" I yelled to the Kid as I slammed the gate and chased after them.  The girls were bolting too fast for me to actually catch them, so I tried herding them towards the gate.  But when I'd try to open it, they would run the other way.  I needed to leave the gate open, but I didn't want any of the other hens to decide to make a break for it, too.

I shouted to the Kid, "Hey buddy, can you feed the other chickens inside their coop?"

"I should feed the chickens?" he ducked his head out quizzically.  We usually discourage him from doing that because he would feed them all day long.

"Yup!" I told him brightly.  "Carry their food all the way back to their coop though, OK?"

"OK!" he gleefully yelled, his sullen mood completely forgotten.

With the other birds distracted, I decided to divide and conquer my escapees.  

Bonnie, our Buckeye, lives up to her 80's rocker name on a normal day, but that day she was feeling extra hardcore.  Emboldened by her success in evading me, she ran straight by me and into our alley.  I waved my arms and tried to herd her, she told me to go to hell.  I dove to snatch at her, she skillfully slipped away.  

A lady rode by on her bike and laughed at the sight of us, "Good luck with that!"

Frustrated, I finally got her pinned close to a fence and made a committed grab.

"DAH!  GOT YA!" I hollered, as she quickly settled under my arm and was reunited with her sisters.

Adele would not be caught so easily.  There are days when my chickens don't go the way I want them to because they're just being stupid.  But there are other days when they get such a naughty gleam in their eyes that I'm almost convinced they're a little possessed.  "Della"--as I call her when I'm feeling fond--definitely had that mischievous sparkle, and I spent a good five minutes chasing with her narrowly evading me at every turn.

By that time, though, the Kid had gotten tired of babysitting and had come out to help.  "Mama, I brought s'more food!" he said eagerly.

[Note: While it might have been preferable to have had a fully grown adult as my teammate in this woman vs. chicken battle, considering his age, the Kid performed wonderfully!]

"Awesome, buddy!  Bring it here!"

He handed me the food, I sprinkled it close to my feet, and squatted down to be ready to strike.  Adele came closer.  She eyed the Kid warily.  And then a little closer.  She tilted her head to examine me.  And finally she came close enough that I lunged at her.

Unlike with Bonnie, I didn't manage to get a good grip on her body, though.  I just caught a foot, but I was not letting go.  She squawked and flapped like I was going to kill her--and I'll admit, the thought crossed my mind--as I gracelessly threw her over the top of our fence and back into the backyard.

The Kid and I high-fived, and went inside to make dinner.