Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hypnotizing Chickens

Two chickens were on the lam today.

While cleaning their pen and moving it to some higher "hen pecking" ground, the largest and smallest chickens--Diamond, the aforementioned Silver Speckled Hamburg and Jersey, the Jersey Black Giant, hopped off to the side and averted the dropping of the pen back over them.

Photo by Keith Skelton
In most instances, I wouldn't worry about such a clever action on either one of their parts. In fact, I would have applauded their ingenuity. I'm one of those people who love independence, spunk and spirit. But, my cat, Sequoia, was lurking the grounds, licking his lips in the anticipation of a fresh chicken dinner. Sequoia's a hunter...a fearless, cutthroat tigress.

Sure enough, when Sequoia caught the shimmer of Diamond's luster reflecting off the dew of the grass, he leapt right for her. I screamed. Diamond cawed and flew high into the air, averting danger. Sequoia slunk off while Jersey and Diamond with a broken feather, made a mad dash into the thicket of eugenia and ivy.

I ran after Sequoia trying to get him into the house, to no avail. I ran after the chickens and tumbled down the railroad ties leading to my neighbor's yard. I landed nearly headfirst into their grove of pines, obvious remnants from Christmas's past. It was in the tangled pine branches that the chickens clucked and dodged, taunting and teasing, until I was exhausted from the chase.

I went back to their pen, grabbed a handful of sunflower seeds, hoping to lure them  to me. No luck.

I grabbed a plastic tub, hoping I could get close enough to capture them. No luck.

I finally pulled my I-Phone out of my pocket and texted my beau, Keith. "SOS. HELP. Chickens out. Sequoias after them." Arriving as fast a rooster in heat, it was only two minutes or so before I heard him open up the backyard gate, and yell, "Where are you?"

"In the pines," I screamed, drowned out in part by the clicking of hens; the rustling of chickens; and the snorting of...

Oh, my goodness. There was my neighbor's pot-bellied pig, out of his pen, wandering aimlessly across the hillside. Being the farm girl I'm not, my first thought was, do pigs eat chickens? Whether it's because the pig is blind or nuggets aren't on his "bucket list", the pig didn't come near the chickens.

We finally cornered our winged avengers. Jersey was caught trying to walk up a dirt hill. The avalanche landed him right back into my hands. Diamond was scooped up by Keith underneath the pines. Both chickens we thrown back into the pen while Keith and I spent a good half hour brushing off our chicken-induced dust baths.

To the house, I marched, determined to find out how to bring chickens back to the fold. I found a Facebook page that I could like that's called I Hate It When My Chickens Get Loose. There are no tips only a countdown of people who've joined. I even discovered You Tube videos on how to clip chicken's wings, which is revolting to an independent girl like me.

Now, hypnotizing your chickens. That's more in line with what I'm thinking.

You flip them over on their bellies, rub below their necks, and sure enough...

They get sleepy...very, very sleepy...

I think it's time for me to take a nap.

If you have any tips on how to round-up winged avengers on the lam, publish a comment. The best ideas will be posted.

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