Sometime last week, one of the girls who lives upstairs came down to tell us that she had been mowing the lawn that afternoon and looked down to find a chicken standing in front of the tractor. Luckily, she did not run it over. She picked it up and got it back into the coop and shut the door. Apparently, the little devil was finding a way to sneak under the chicken wire and escape into the great big world.
The fabulous dude spent some time re-securing the wire and placing some reinforcements (those wood planks) on the sides so that there was so escape route.
After that incident, I kept trying to trick him into believing that more chickens had escaped. He never believed me.
Last Saturday, after returning from blueberry picking, I went around back to check on the garden and the chickens. There were five little chickens in the coop. Five? Aren't there supposed to be six? I asked my SIL how many chickens were in there just in case my eyes were playing tricks on me. They weren't. There were five chickens.
We went in the house and I said to my fabulous dude, "I know you're not going to believe me because I know I lied about it before, but seriously, there are only five chickens in the coop."
He told me that he knew, he had realized that one was missing earlier that morning. He also informed me that the lost chicken had been found. Buried in a giant heap in the side flower bed.
You see, our dog is part border collie, and it is in her nature to herd and collect things. This natural tendency manifests itself by her burying anything she can possibly get her hands ...err, paws... on. We have watched her collect and bury a dozen rotten eggs, corn cobs, a bagel with cream cheese, a birthday cake, whoppers (malted milk candies), mice, Big Mac wrappers, socks, cherries, barbies, among many other things. Sometimes we actually see her in the process and sometimes we just find the evidence later. Such as when FD and his friends were playing horseshoes and were greeted by a shower of cherry pits flying out of the sandpit when the first horse shoe landed in it. Apparently, she thought it would be nice to add a chicken to her collection.
When FD and my brother returned from fishing on Saturday, they saw a giant heap of dirt in the flower garden, against the house. He assumed she had buried a mouse or something. He went into the barn to get something to dig with and lo and behold, a chicken foot popped out of the dirt when he started digging around. He then attempted to teach the dog a lesson by making her lay down in the chicken coop and letting the chickens walk around her and on top of her. He was sure she got the hint that she wasn't allowed to eat the chickens. We still aren't quite sure if she somehow got into the coop and got it or if it escaped and she found it roaming loose and took advantage of that opportunity. I assume the latter.
Well, yesterday afternoon, I headed out to take the dog for a walk. I was circling the barn calling her, when I came to the chicken coop. What did I see? Four chickens.
Four. That is one less than was left after the first incident.
I could see that one of the wooden planks was knocked over and the wire was kind of bent up, with a pile of chicken feathers around it. I could not believe that she had gone and done it again!
She came around the chicken coop with hear head down and her tail dragging between her legs. A tell tale sign that she has done something wrong. I gave her a good talkin' to and then we headed out for our walk. When we got back, I decided to look around the gardens and the orchard to see if I could find where she had placed her treasure. I cut through the barn and I was walking across the floor, do you know what I found?
These beady little eyes staring back at me.
(well, not actually these eyes, per say. At the time, I wasn't interested in snapping photos. Plus, this picture is a rooster, not a hen...but you get the point. source)
I would be lying if I said I did not spend the next 20 minutes chasing this chicken around the barn trying to capture it. I was talking out loud to the chicken, begging it to let me catch it. At one point, I even attempted to seduce the thing by grabbing a handful of chicken feed, tossing it on the floor and hoping that the chicken would be dumb enough to trust me to get close to it. It was not dumb enough. The stupid thing outsmarted me over and over again by hiding under the boat, causing me to run straight through a gigantic spider web and hiding in the tiniest little crevices!
Finally, I gave up and headed to the house to get some help. FD wasn't home so I got one of the girls from upstairs (different one than previously spoken to in this story) and her father to come out and help me. Between the three of us, we were able to corner the chicken and chase it in to a smaller, enclosed area of the barn, where I (being the huge chicken lover that I am) grabbed the bird - which is now full grown - with my bare hands and carried it, squaking and squealing, back to the chicken coop.
They don't call me Old McLucy for nothin'.