Tag Archives: nabes

What About Your Chicken?

Harrybadface asked a question that requires an official answer, so here goes…

Bob and I used to have five chickens, as you know.  Then, about two weeks before moving day, those chickens got attacked by a forest creature.  Probably an ermine, since we’ve seen them on the property, and since it was able to sneak both ways through our wire fence.

Two chickens were killed in the attack, and I should point out that these were not food kills, but thrill kills, which are more popular in the animal kingdom than you might like to think.  Essentially, this ermine killed our chickens for kicks, then sauntered away.  Now he’s out getting pet in some oil painting.

But wait, there’s more: Over the course of the next days, two of the remaining chickens, despite being otherwise unharmed, died of fear-related causes. We’re guessing that they found the memory of the attack too much to bear.  And this is something that happens to chickens, or so I’m told.  They literally scare themselves to death.

Unless of course they’re too stupid to realize that they should be scared.

The lone surviving chicken, it would seem, is just that stupid.  When we opened the door one morning to find that her last remaining coopmate had expired during the night, she paid even that no mind–just stepped over her dead friend like a doormat and greeted Bob at the threshold, her neck moving in inquiring spasms.  “Whatcha got?”

* * *

I think Bob began to hate this chicken at that moment, and if it were up to him, she would still be in solitary confinement out of town, no joke.  Add to that the fact that all our prospective chicken inheritors withdrew their offers right after the attack, perhaps fearing they were getting damaged goods, or worrying the survivor had done it all herself.

Luckily, our neighbors’ daughter was able to find a new home for the bird with her ex, a guy who has a bunch of chickens already.  She even helped relocate the bird personally.  The only flaw in the plan, as I saw it, was that this ex of hers also had a rooster.  Bob and I never kept one ourselves, partly because they never shut up, and partly because we’ve seen the clawmarks on the backs of popular hens–another dark facet of the chicken lifestyle that The Left works hard to cover up.

But this time, it would seem that the proverbial claw is on the other chicken butt.  When the new girl arrived, all the other hens in the pen took it the wrong way, and got real jealous of her.  Fighting jealous.

They have been kicking the shit out of that poor rooster ever since.

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Fire-Breathing Chickens

Bob’s chickens have been here for months, but you may notice that I haven’t mentioned them once since they arrived. This is because they engender in me a profound feeling of mistrust.

I chalk it up to the unbreakable association that “The Music Man” has forged in my brain between chickens and matronly gossips–whenever I hear our feathered tenants clucking in their coop beside The Schmabin, I can’t help but think that, were they transformed into people, they would be talking shit about me.

Thankfully, our neighbor Henry has helped me change my point of view.

Henry hasn’t been mentioned here yet, and this is a terrible oversight—he is certainly one of the superstars of Lonesome Valley. An ex-military guy who lives over the general store, he works days in a tuberculosis research laboratory, practices playing the drums at night, and is the biggest science geek I have ever met, which is saying something. The way I subconsciously find a way to bring up horror movies or musical theatre, Henry will find a way to drop the word “diglyceride”.

So one day, Henry and I were outside the trailer chatting, when Bob came around the corner with, for reasons that escape me at present, a chicken in his arms. This was when Henry said the magic sentence: “Wow, you can really see the dinosaur in them…” and promptly launched into the story of how much has changed since science accepted that dinosaurs have little to do with lizards, and everything to do with birds.

I looked again at the chicken in Bob’s arms and saw not a morbidly obese septuagenarian in a muumuu and a feathered hat, but a fallen dragon. Better yet, one that lays Grade AA eggs.

So say it now, say it loud: I own chickens, and I’m proud.

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