"United we bargain, divided we beg."

Monday, July 21, 2008

Chickens Cause Problems

Of the seven free chickens we got the other week, five initially escaped. Two hens were all we had. One hen returned on her own. The other 4, two hens and the two roosters (one with no tail) were at the neighbors. We could hear them occasionally, but we couldn't see them. After a week or a little less, we went over there, rang the bell, and asked permission to try to catch them. "Oh sure," said the nice elderly lady who lives there, Mrs. Johnson. Well, we ran all over the place and chased those chickens to hell and gone, but couldn't catch a single one. They run into the thick bushes and hunker down silently. Homero said he had a big net at the shop, and we'd come back with it the next day.

Turned out, somebody had borrowed the net and he didn't know who; then after he got it back he forgot it, and one day turned into a whole week. Sunday, yesterday, Homero was using the weedeater in the front lawn when two guys came by with a squawking chicken under one's arm. From the living room, I couldn't hear their words, but their tone sounded pretty unhappy.

"What did they say?" I asked Homero as we put the hen in the barn with the other chickens.

"They said the chickens are ruining their mother's garden and could we please come get them already." 

"Were they pissed?"

"They were pissed."

Crap. Homero had the net in the truck, so we went right over and saw the other three chickens basking in Mrs. Johnson's vegetable garden, which did indeed seem to be considerably torn up. Despite being as stealthy as we could, and having a giant net on a pole, we only managed to catch one rooster. The neighbors must think we are some pretty stupid city slickers, can't even catch a chicken. They probably think we shouldn't even be living out here in the country.

We did everything right this time: we locked the rooster in the small barn and waited until pitch black night. Then we carefully took him, still asleep, into the main barn with the other chickens and placed him on a perch and slipped out without waking anybody up. The book says if you do this they will all wake up together in the morning and since chickens can't count they will think nothing's changed.

By the time I got out there to milk the goats at 7:30, the rooster was gone. Presumably back over to the neighbor's. When we catch them next time, I'm going to have Homero wring their necks then and there and make rooster soup. Assuming there is a next time.