Friday, May 8, 2009

Intruder Alert!

Yesterday morning was chugging along when I decided it would be a good time to go outside and move the chickens from their coop to their run. This is a daily occurrence, so like clockwork the boys and the dog wait at the door for me to let them out. The chicken coop is hidden behind our shed, so you cannot see it from the back patio, but it's a nice hidden spot so it's perfect for my clandestine coop.

We all walked about 10 steps out of the back door when I saw something dark streak across the yard from the chicken coop toward the trees. The dog instantly darted over there and chased the thing into the trees.

I could tell by its gait that the dark thing was a chicken, which made me realize the inevitable: I must have forgotten to lock up the chicken coop the previous night and the girls had been loose all night. Instantly I had thoughts running through my mind of loose chickens being scooped up by creatures of the night. I imagined crying children and a very upset ME as I managed to save the one rogue chicken who had stayed in the yard and was now being chased by the dog.

I peeked in the chicken coop and saw two chickens. Sookie was missing. How on earth did Sookie get out? This was very confusing. I grabbed the dog and tried to drag him to the patio door to lock him up so I could catch her and put her back in the coop. The dog has one defense when you're trying to make him do something he clearly does not want to do. He goes limp. It's beyond frustrating. You can't drag him or move him because he just lays there limp and then when you give up he scampers off and taunts you with high annoying barks.

So I decided to pick him up and carry him to the house. Please note that he's a full-grown adult male German Shepherd. This is just how much I love the chickens. I got him in the house and Aidan comes running up and says "There are three chickens in the chicken house! Sookie is on the stairs!" I ran up to look and he was right.

Well who on earth just streaked past us?

Then I hear a man's voice and look up and hanging over the top of our 6-foot privacy fencing is one of our neighbors. He's a Korean man in his 60s wearing a big floppy hat and doing his best to tell me that one of his chickens flew over my fence. This involves a lot of arm flapping and pointing in his description. Our neighbors are a Korean family who speak very little English and we've never spoken to them - only because of the language barrier. We wave all the time though.

I know they've been building a secret chicken coop and I have seen their chickens through a hole in the fence. I tried explaining to the man that we have chickens too so that we would be united in chicken solidarity, but I'm not sure he got what I was saying.

"We have three chickens!" I said, pointing to our coop.

"No, only 1 chicken fly" he says pointing at our yard.

"Yes, I'll get her and throw her over, but we have three of our own chickens!" I say.

"We have 27" he says.

Really? I must have heard him wrong.

So we continue the hunt for the small black chicken. The dog is barking up a storm from the patio. The boys are running and squealing like mad and our neighbor is still hanging over the fence screaming directions to me in Korean and pointing at various trees. It was quite a scene.

We chased her all over the yard. Have you ever chased a chicken? It's quite a scene, I assure you, especially with 3-year-old and 5-year-old boys helping. I eventually found the chicken hiding in some bushes under a tree. By this point our neighbor had given up on me and had gone back to gardening.

Once I caught her she was so calm! She was clearly a Polish chicken and a very sweet friendly little bird. I'll admit to wanting to tell him she was eaten by our dog and keeping her because she was such a friendly little thing. But instead I walked over to the fence and climbed up and screamed "HELLO!" with the chicken in my hands.

An older lady in a big straw hat walked over and smiled and waved, then motioned for me to throw the chicken over the fence. I said goodbye to my little rogue chicken and tossed her into their yard. We all then ran over to our secret chicken peephole and watched her run into her coop with a whole mess of other random chickens. She appeared to be the only Polish chicken so she'll be easy to spot in our covert through-the-fence chicken spying. It was fun while it lasted though.


Sande said...

Well, that's one way to meet and greet the neighbors! Maybe it will open more opportunities to communicate with them. It sounded like quite a circus! Bet the kids will remember it for a long time.

Dani said...

"Chicken solidarity" Love that!;0

I'm sure our poor husbands think we're insane.

Barbara said...

Hello, This is my first visit to your blog and I really enjoyed my visit. I am now living in North Florida but, grew up in Saint Cloud, Florida graduating in "78". Back when St. Cloud was a small town with no fast food restaurants. Back then we had to drive to Kissimmee to get a fast food burger. Your nieghbor with the corn growing well knows that corn is a heavy feeder and has used Ammoniun Phosphate also known as Ammoniun Nitrate on his corn. Unless he found a super high organic Nitrogen for his corn. If you get a chance you should ask.

Looking forward to visiting again.

Cheryl said...

That was funny. Sounds like an added benefit to raising chickens is the occasional free work-out chasing them down.

Engineeredgarden said...

kill it! Oh may have the bird flu....ha!

Becky said...

Phew! I am glad they are okay.

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