Ok, what is it with these critters? You put them where they belong and they manage to escape. I walked out to the chicken house the other day only to be confronted by a wandering chicken outside the coop. It FLEW THE COOP! Now I do understand about the whole free range chicken thing, but you see it is necessary for the chickens here to stay in their house! It is not safe for chickens to wander outside as 5 of them have already succumbed to coyotes and wild dogs (well wild dogs which actually live in the yard). Having already almost tripped over a dead chicken lying in the yard I am not anxious to revisit that event. Not to mention that I had to pick its dead carcass up and drop it in a trash bag for the garbage. I know, I know, if I was a “real” farmer I would have plucked it and eaten it for dinner. Yuck-the dogs already chewed on it. Double Yuck.
So in the interest of saving a poor chicken and thus avoid my having to remove another dead one from the yard, I thought it best to catch the chicken and put it back in its house with its little chicken friends. It seemed to be wandering ever so slowly around the yard, scratching the ground and pecking at things. I figured that I could walk up behind it, scoop it up and toss it back in the hen house. Ha, ha, ha—chickens can run really fast when something is chasing them. Not to mention that they run here and there, hither and yon, zig and zag. I spent a good ten minutes chasing after this chicken with no close encounter of any kind. Shoooeey! (this is a farming term I have recently learned) I needed a better tactic for chicken catching. I called a fellow farmer and asked how to catch a chicken and was told that you have to sweep them off their feet. Hmmmmm-flowers? candy? compliments? No, I was told, you sweep your arm to the side of them and catch them by their ankles. WHAT??? Ankles?? Where?? I can’t tell if they have ankles or where they are on their legs. I thought about this and asked whether the chicken couldn’t scratch me with their claws? (I guess that’s what you call what’s on the end of their toes, that is if chickens have toes) So I was told to wear gloves or to get a chicken catcher. Yep, I exclaimed that is exactly what I needed-a chicken catcher. I inquired as to how much one cost and was told that they cost less than $10.00. Wow! What a bargain! I can get someone to come to the farm and catch this chicken and put it back for less than $10.00! My fellow farmer was now getting exasperated with me and explained that you get a chicken catcher at tractor supply. Now in my mind I am envisioning a bunch of men standing around the front of the tractor supply store waiting for chicken catching jobs. I remember that when I used to live in Maryland there were always a bunch of guys hanging around the parking lot at Home Depot looking for day work and so I figured that was what these chicken catching guys must be doing. To my deep dismay, I found out that a chicken catcher was basically a long metal rod with a hook on the end used to catch chickens. You are supposed to hook them by their feet with this rod thing. Fearing that the chicken would not live long enough for a trip to Tractor Supply, I attempted to catch it using a towel. I thought that if I could throw a towel over it and pick it up I could deposit it back into the hen house; easier said than done. I spent a half hour running around the yard with a towel chasing a chicken. The chicken took off into the woods nowhere to be found. I spent the next several days keeping an eye out for the chicken and did not see it again. I harbored thoughts that the chicken ran away from home and found another chicken coop to live in with other chicken friends. Unfortunately I was sadly mistaken having found the dead chicken on the back porch a few days later where I am sure the dogs deposited it. I feel bad. I feel like I let the chicken down. Everyone thinks I am nuts as here in the country people think animals are expendable. They think they don’t have feelings. But I still do.