What a to do

13 Oct 2007

Yesterday was certainly a day of highs
and lows. After the children left for school we headed out to a small country town near here to pick up our new chickens. We stopped off on the way at a couple of op shops where Stephen found a great pair of barely worn cords in the same beige colour as his last pair. I swear since I have known him he has always had a soft comfortable pair of cords in the same colour, it's his winter uniform. Any way they were a bargain at only $2. On to the chickens.

We were getting them from one of the vets in town. She has no idea of their breed as she had an uninvited rooster join her flock last year and now she has a farm yard full of unknowns. They seemed happy to see us. They are a funny looking bunch, spring pullets with one obviously older than the others. They are at that awkward stage between pin feathers and their adult plumage.


We settled them in to the chook yard and Stephen decided to do a few more repairs to the hen house. I was down there with him and outside the chook yard were Shackleton the baby lion ( tabby cat) and Poppy the demented dog whose kelpie /corgi instincts make her try to round up any group of three or more. We have had chooks before of course but the kittens have never seen them and Poppy has obviously been missing them. The chook yard door was shut but not locked...yes you can guess the rest. One of the chooks stuck its head through the wire, Poppy snapped at it , the rest of the chooks took fright and ran straight at the door which popped open and out ran three terrified chooks followed by a cat determined to test her hunting skills, a madly barking dog, and a very surprised woman flailing her arms shouting " stop, stop". Stephen stood bemused in the chook yard trying to understand what had happened.

Poppy the dog

Round and round the garden we went, me trying to stop the dog and cat and keep an eye on the three escapees. The other three were now safely in the henhouse.Eventually things settled but the chooks were no where to be found. Recriminations and accusations all round and wondering how we would explain it all to Kate later in the day. In the midst of all the kerfuffle my parents arrived and mum handed me a bag of food, I was thinking chooks, she was thinking afternnoon tea.

As we couldn't find the missing chooks I went inside for lunch, saw the bag of "food", thought chooks and proceeded to take the bag of rather nice looking cinnamon scrolls and hedgehog slice down to the chook yard and throw it there to tempt the escapees back home. I wandering slowly back up to the house and sat down at my desk wondering why my mum hadn't sent round afternoon tea with dad when the horrible and ridiculous truth dawned. I had just fed afternoon tea to the chooks. I hot footed it back down there,thankfully the escapees were no where to be seen and the other three were safe in their house. I brushed the dirt off the food while laughing hysterically and trying to explain to Stephen what I had done. It was all eaten later in the day though I didn't tell anyone about the chook incident until after it was finished.

We had been keeping all the animals inside so they didn't frighten the chooks but Shackleton was desperate to go out so I let her then followed, she managed to find the chooks but catching them was another matter.They loved being free in all the lush undergrowth.

They stayed free in the garden all afternoon, sometimes going tantilisingly close to the yard but always darting off in the wrong direction. Just as I was beginning to cook tea Stephen called out that our neighbour had just seen them in her backyard so we all trouped over to drive them home. Success with two but the third slipped under the door into their shed and hid. I went home and Stephen eventually caught the last girl but then decided to have a chat. He doesn't like the feel of chooks, quite common I think, so wasn't holding her very well. Louis walked past, the chook took fright ( not because he is a particularly hideous boy but chooks are rather flighty) and off she went again. Our neighbours have a large dog, luckily tied up through all this bro-ha-ha. Where did the mad chook go... straight into the dogyard. It was searched, no chook , they thought she must have gone through the fence into the next yard. A house to house search ensued but no joy. Everyone came home for tea but first we managed , at last to get the two escapees still at large in our yard into the chook house.

After dinner our neighbours brought one very frightened and sorry chook home. It had been in the dog yard the whole time. Much thanks and then I put the poor little creature into the henhouse where it cowered in a laying box. Talk about fun and games at the homestead. It will certainly be a day to remember, the day the new chooks arrived.

Shackleton keeping an eye on the chooks

This is Shackleton keeping an eye on the chooks.

two fine hens

We have two black hens, two white and two brown and black. The smaller of these two is the "one that got away". Her partners in crime were the two white ones.

12 Responses to “What a to do”

  1. Oh dear! So sorry your first day with your chickens was so eventful. I hope things settle down and I am sure they will once your chickens settle in.

    Hang in there.

    I would like it if you would email me, please. I have a question for you re: another blogger that I think you know.


  2. Ah the fine art of Chicken wrangling at it's best. Isn't it amazing how fast they can scoot when they want. I'm thinkg Dorthy for the last one in the coop. I bet she's saying there's no place like home, theres no place like home. Even a new one :)

  3. Oh no! Your story of throwing your Mum's food to the chooks was hilarious, though probably not so funny at the time.

    I am glad you caught them all in the end.

  4. Jenny, What a funny story. Our hens never fail to amuse me, especially when they all sit looking in our back door together. Jan

  5. Oh that was so funny, it was like Keystone cops, or should I say chooks! I hope all has settled down now! You have some very beautiful pets there!

  6. Hi Kristiana, I went to your blog and your profile but I can't find your email address. Perhaps you could email me and we will go from there. My email address is in my blogger profile.

    Hi Andylynne, I think Dorothy is a very good name for the run away but I think Kate has settled on Biddy.

    HI Kate, I think the afternoon tea chook food was hilarious but thank goodness the chooks didn't get it.

    Hi Jan, yes they are certainly entertaining, though I think a bit stupid as well.

    Hi Jill, it would have been very funny to watch I'm sure.

  7. Ah Jenny, that *does* sound like a very eventful day. :)

  8. Oh, my goodness, but your story did bring back some memories of escaped chickens here!! I'm laughing at our past experiences now, but I certainly didn't find them very funny at the time. One year, we had a mama fox and her kits that were assassinating chickens every night here, and I was determined to have the chickens all locked safely away every night. The chickens, on the other hand, decided to take refuge in our huge weeping willow tree instead. The problem with that was, we were also plagued with tree-climbing, chicken loving racoons! Our neighbors must have thought we'd lost our marbles watching us out there poking and prodding and shaking branches trying to get the chickens out of that tree!!! Silly birds!

    Glad yours are home safe and sound, and that you rescued your afternoon tea!

  9. Jenny, that story is priceless! I am so sorry about all the hoopla, but I thank you sincerely for the laugh :) It has been a "throwing the tea party to the chooks" kind of week around here, and I am greatly anticipating a return to more usual days next week. Love to you! Q

  10. Dear Jenny, oh my! That's what I call making memories!

    I wanted to comment and let you know that our baby girl is here and loves her dolly I won in your draw. She is fascinated by her and has even been trying to kiss her, which at 6mo I take as a sign of intelligent and affectionate nature!

    Thank you again.

  11. What a palaver! Hope all the animals have started to get used to each other by now.


Thanks so much for taking the time to chat. I don't always have time to reply but I do read every message you leave.