(originally posted 01/21/2012)
We all know that someday our children will grow up and realize that they have the gift of FREE WILL, stretch their wings and take that first flight out into the world … a place where you can’t reach out and offer your protection … all you can do is silently wait …. for the inevitable thud that comes with first flight.. it appears that adolescent chickens have the same ideas.
But who could have EVER foreseen the rebellion of this little barred rock chicken as she led me on a great chase through the forest, down the creek and back to the house. While I cursed her severely and threatened to make a stew out of her, she just as vehemently returned my cackles and refused to allow me to gain an inch with her.
Where did I go wrong?? I’ve fed them, watered them, rotated them to greener, buggier pastures every single day! All of the other girls had followed me back to the coop in lock step, happy as clams for their extended excursion into the deep leaves beneath the oak trees in our back yard. They had obediently filed into their cage, preening their feathers and taking their places in their sand wallows and egg boxes. But after a quick head count I realized that one bird was MIA.. or should I say AWOL…
It didn’t take long to locate her by the raucous she was making kicking up dry leaves. You know, the kind of noise that says, “HEY! Something BIG and CARNIVOROUS! COME KILL ME!” She was perfectly placed on a steep slope that only she and an agile billy goat could maneuver, so why I thought I could get there in my backless clogs is still unknown. But try I did.. first calling, then clucking “CHICK CHICK CHICKEEEE!!” none of which seemed to work. The closer I got to her, the farther into the scrub brush she eased, still kicking up leaves and eating unidentifiable stuff as fast as possible before I could finally reach her, then she’d take off again.
Sometimes when you live in the country, you can’t see your neighbors, which gives you a false sense of security– just because you can’t see somebody doesn’t mean that sound doesn’t carry- I’m sure my neighbors Bill and Helen will be smiling the next time I take some eggs over since I lost my temper with my lovely little chicken, and gave her a few new names today. Sadly, yelling these new names at her did not motivate her to give up her excursion and come back with me to the pen.
After realizing that I was getting nowhere, I gave up and left her in the woods and made my way back to the house. Lunch was already on the table and I was the only one not enjoying the meal. After dinner (and a few minutes to calm down a bit) I took some table scraps outside and proceeded to entice the chick to come home. It’s amazing what can be accomplished with a little love, patience and macaroni..