Very Difficult Chickens

Day 70 of 365

I had planned to write about other things today–muffins, flowers, gifts, and amazing women. Instead, I feel compelled to tell you the story of difficult chickens.

Handling teenage chickens seems to be just as difficult as handling teenage humans. Sometimes, they’re babies. Sometimes, they’re all grown up. And, figuring out this in between can be challenging. When I went out tonight, in the rain, I might add, to put up my baby chickens and Ruby’s baby chickens, most of my babies were ready to go. Dvorak (the little rooster) and the girls–Piatigorsky, Faure, and Hector–were waiting for me and crying to go to bed. I have been trying to teach them to go to the crate, but they’re not having it. Thankfully, they are either very easy to catch or will literally just jump into my hands.

I have one more baby chicken though. Her name is Rostropovich, and she’s pretty difficult. Every single night, she makes me chase her down. I am too old to be diving into the dirt to catch a tiny chicken. Tonight, I decided we would not be playing that game. I kept squatting down and calling for her. She would come close and then take off.

“Fine,” I told her. And I went about the rest of my chores. She continued to cry and cry but continued to refuse my help. I went to the crate to double check Ruby’s babies and was pretty sure I saw just three chickens. There should have been four.

Suddenly, the events from this morning all made sense. This morning, Ron made it to the garage first and opened the doors. I came behind him shortly and started working toward moving the baby chickens out of the garage and into their fenced area for the day. But one chicken was missing. I asked Ron if he saw her fly out of the garage. He said he hadn’t, and I started to panic. I had not checked the crate super closely last night. Did I forget one of Ruby’s babies somehow?

I started searching our yard in a panic. I couldn’t find her anywhere. I couldn’t believe she would not have gone to the crate last night. She always did before, and I couldn’t imagine any other place she could have hidden from me. But after about five or ten minutes of searching, suddenly, she appeared. I concluded she must have flown out of the garage and Ron just missed it.

I realized tonight, she must be going somewhere else. I went and got the flashlight and started looking everywhere in the fenced area and saw nothing. Then, it occurred to me to start looking up. I shined the flashlight upward and found her way up high on top of the remnants of a wooden playground structure. This tiny bird was way up high, and I was not happy about having to climb up to get her in the rain. But, of course, that’s what I did.

When I made it up there, I gave her a good talk. She’s a creamy white chicken. “You know it’s a miracle an owl didn’t eat you last night?” She seemed uninterested. I scooped her up and managed to make my way down with just one arm to hang on and one arm for her. I put her into the crate and started, finally, wrapping up chicken chores for the night.

All this time, Rostropovich was still running around crying. It was quite dark and quite rainy at this point, I squatted down and called her to me. I held out my hands for her. She got really close to me, attacked my fingers, and then jumped into my arms.

I guess, when you’re a teenager, it’s hard to admit you need mom’s help.

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