We have a six foot tall privacy fence surrounding our backyard, so our chickens rarely escape. But, a few weekends ago, a big gust of wind blew open the gate. This is also not typically a problem. The chickens are happy in our backyard--it's the only world they know--so they typically stay put, even when the gate comes open.
On that particular day, I heard the gate banging in the wind, so I quickly stepped out to close it. But I did not count my chickens before heading back inside to take a shower. As I was stepping out of the shower, I heard a hard series of knocks on my front door. "Just a second!" I shouted down, as I scrambled for clothes. "One of your chickens is out!" yelled a voice through the door.
I was glad the Kid was asleep, so as not to hear my cursing, as I stumbled into the closest pants and shirt I could find. Then I ran outside, where I found my Nice Neighbor and his two kids trying to corner Bonnie the Buckeye.
Ms. Bonnie was enjoying her adventure, and led us on a chase into another neighbor's yard. Startled to see such a posse, that neighbor also came outside and joined the party. (That's five humans against one chicken, if you're keeping track.) Eventually, we surrounded Bonnie against a fence, the first Nice Neighbor scooped her up, and she was deposited back into our yard.
As we all caught our breath, I promised eggs for all in recognition of my neighbors' kindness. A few days later I tapped on one neighbor's door with a half-dozen in hand.
"You didn't have to do that," he insisted, and over my protests he slipped back in his house to give us a small gift in return--a bag of frozen crappie that he had fished up a few weeks before.
I get such a kick out of the fact that this is the world I live in now--one where my hen gets loose and it leads to a fish fry. Our girls have opened up the neighborhood to us in a way that would have taken us years and years on our own.