Tales from the Cluckhouse: A Chicken Rodeo

Last night was one of the most interesting nights of my life as a chicken owner since April, when the chickens first arrived here at our farm. It was a night of nervousness, humility, sweat and side splitting laughter. What began as an innocent treat for the chickens ended in 3 sweaty adults and a coop full of exhausted chickens. While I didn't have a chance to snag any video or photos {dang}, the images from last night are forever burned in to my memory..


Thru the summer, I have left my flock unattended thru-out the afternoons except for sporadic visits with treats from my garden. At night, they let themselves in to the coop and I have been leaving their coop door open as to let fresh air in to cool them off, knowing their pen will keep them safe from any predators. Last night, however, after picking fresh beans and tomatoes from my garden, I decided to take a black bottomed tomato to my flock as a nice treat after a long, hot day. As Jakey and I walked to their coop I could hear clucking coming from further South then their coop and I figured it must've been an echo..but then it hit me..no, couldn't be..could it? Yep, sure enough..there were chicken silhouettes in our tree rows..the chickens got out! Panicked over the dogs getting a free dinner I ran them to the farmhouse where my husbands grandmother locked them in the house while my poor mother in law and I made our way to the coop, broom in hand, to catch us some chickens. Thankfully, my husband was able to join us after 10 mins of no luck and so began our chicken rodeo...

If you have never chased a chicken, you have no idea how difficult they are to catch. Chickens are fast and can outsmart you at almost every turn! They can get in to places you only wished you could and trust me, you find yourself in some pretty compromising positions..all for a chicken. For 45 minutes you could find myself, my husband and my mother in law chasing 11 of my 14 chickens within a confined space .. celebrating loudly when one was caught and placed in the coop. Tricking them with treats didn't work, clucking at them never helped a bit {trust me, seeing your mom in law chase a chicken with a broom in hand going "buck buck buck" is the funniest thing you could ever see}. They would deviate back and forth amongst the trees, getting stuck in branches and flying over your head when cornered. When there were only a few left to catch we were exhausted but determined to get them all in safely before nightfall

Roo, my black rooster was truly quite the catch. We had him cornered by the coop, each of us taking a side to ensure his capture. Of course he tried with all his might to get away from my reach but I clasped him any way I could..meaning I grabbed him by one foot and held on for dear life! The poor guy tried rustling free from my grasp but I wasn't about to let go! He tussled and fought, pecking at my hands but I ran screaming for my husband, upside down rooster in my hands, apologizing to the chicken for possibly hurting him all while watching my husband and mother in law pee themselves laughing at the sight of me! Thankfully, Adam composed himself and got Roo from my grasp and returned him to the coop, unharmed and only slightly humiliated..

Roo
 
Eleanor, my little girl was another challenge..running up and down the tree rows for what felt like hours before, finally, resting on the straw bales so I could snatch her and put her in with the rest of the flock. And let me tell you, the sight of Lacey..my gold laced wyandotte who is *ahem* very healthy in size, running away from Adam makes me laugh just thinking about it, her giant body bopping from side to side as she tried so hard to escape us before running straight for the coop, white flag in hand, stating she was just to dang tired to run anymore

Lacey

The last chicken of the evening was Tiny, my blue Ameracauna rooster that has, since Day 1, been the fast running chicken I have ever seen! Even while just a chick in the brooder, he was always a challenge to get a hold of and, knowing this, I feared we may never get him in the coop. He ran North, he ran South, he ran East and he ran West..he had us by the bins and crawling on all fours thru the trees..he was a free bird, dang it, and he wasn't letting us take that from him! At one point we thought we had him, we cornered him good. But Tiny? Well Tiny had other plans..just as Adam and I closed in on him, he took off, leaving us in his dust while we tried, quite pathetically to chase after him. Realizing how sad we looked I started laughing, watching Adam chase this rooster with a stick...if only I had a camera! We couldn't stop laughing, our abs hurt and our eyes were filled with tears. But, finally, Tiny took pity on us. He climbed in to a tree, exhausted, and let me walk up to him and grab him quite peacefully. He let me cradle him in my arms while he snuggled in, panting and closed his eyes. As Adam says, "the chickens' world just got a whole lot bigger tonight"... and yes, yes it did.


After counting all the chickens and ensuring they were in safely for the night, I was able to actually take a moment to check over the pen and all I can think of is that those 11 chickens actually flew up the 8 ft fence to escape..there was just no other way they could've gotten out! Needless to say my hubby is putting a roof on their pen at first light today..we don't need any repeats of last night any time soon! Those chickens wanted freedom badly and they got it for about an hour or so in the soft, Summer light of an August evening. And us? Well, we're still just laughing...

Linking to Farmchick's Farm Photo Friday

2 comments:

  1. Hi Dawn,

    Thank you for making me laugh this morning, you wrote this so well it was like being there. I have seen people chase chickens and it is VERY HARD, poor you and MIL and hubby, soooo funny to see this!! Great job catching them all and not hurting any of them and THANK GOODNESS they didn't get caught by the dogs. This will be a funny memory for you to share with your kids one day, they will laugh and you will too.

    A roof is a good idea, keep them safe!! Such daring chickens you have!

    Just read your previous post, LOVE LOVE that you did this!! Sounds like the perfect summer for you, so glad I got to know you and read about LIFE ON THE FARM!! I can't wait for FALL either, the leaves, cool air, pumpkins, THANKSGIVING is my fave holiday too. Not ready for the winter part but FALL IS JUST RIGHT!

    Thanks again for the laugh this morning, so nice to hear from you on my blog also. Take care and enjoy the weekend!

    p.s. did you see the new PL kits, which one do you like? I love the SEAFOAM ONE!!
    HUGS!!
    p.s.s. would love you to do a walk down memory lane like I did, it is fun!

    ReplyDelete
  2. So well written that I could picture it. It would have been so fun to have that caught on video.

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Thank you so much for your sweet comments!! I appreciate hearing from you, have a great day!

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