I’m one of those people that can usually find the humor in anything. Sometimes I just really find things amusing; other times I use humor to deflect my true feelings. Then there are those times where something is so traumatic it takes me awhile before I can look back and laugh about it.
This chicken died the other night. Then she greeted me at the coop door the next morning wanting her share of the scratch grains.
I was just a tad bit freaked out by it.
You see, the night before I had witnessed, with my very own eyes, the brutal pouncing and murder of the undead chicken by this individual.
It happened during the routine nightly ritual of tucking all the critters in for the night. It’s a complicated system, a certain order has to be followed to keep the peace amongst all the residents.
The goats need to be tucked into their goat grotto first so that the sheep can cross the goat pasture to get to the barn. Only then can Willa be let out to start on her nightly patrol.
Now that the sheep are in the North pasture the chickens have a pasture all to themselves. Chickens are smart enough to tuck themselves in at night so all a farmer has to do is shut the coop doors behind them. I had just finished shutting one of them that night when I heard the ruckus begin.
It seems the zombie chicken formerly known as Prius had jumped the fence and landed in the goat pasture -- where Willa was. I hadn’t seen her because of all the tall grass, and frankly wouldn’t have been looking for her back there because we’ve never had one of the fat bottom girls jump the fence before.
I’m not sure who scared who first, but all of sudden the dog was jumping up and down barking and feathers were flying everywhere. There were 200 yards and two fences between me and them. In my panic, I actually thought I would jump one of them as I took off in a flat-0ut run to save Prius. Luckily, my weenie muscles and poor aching bones reminded my brain that I don’t have super human strength or the ability to fly and so I resorted to going all the way around and through the gates.
I was screaming at Willa the whole way to “leave it.” A command the other dogs grasped easily in obedience class but Willa never has. Even when I reached them she still didn’t want to give up the now lifeless chicken. I was armed with only a small, empty plastic Folgers can in my hand which I threw at her. I was more than a little hysterical by this point. My hysteria is what finally got her to let go. She didn’t even notice the can.
I scooped up the chicken and stumbled through the tall grass and brush back to the chicken pasture. Prius wasn’t moving. She was wet with slobber and half her feathers were missing. I couldn’t tell if she was breathing or not because I was actually hyperventilating myself. I had witnessed the 100 pound dog pounce on the 2 pound chicken, so I knew she was dead. I was beyond furious, having a hard time breathing and it was getting dark. I still needed to finishing locking up the chicken coop so I left the lifeless little body just inside the door and planned to bury her first thing in the morning.
I stayed mad at Willa all night. Mad because she chases chickens. Mad because she wouldn’t “leave it.” Mad because she made me throw the can.
It was raining the next morning when I walked out with a shovel. Still mad. I opened the chicken doors and out scampered the chickens. Once they passed by I looked in to get Prius only she wasn’t there. Then my brain caught up with my eyes and I nearly gave myself whiplash when I turned to see that Prius had just walked past me with all the other birds.
I couldn’t believe my eyes. “She’s ALIVE” I thought. “What the?!”
Apparently chickens know how to play dead. Or she was in shock. Or she came back to life as a zombie chicken.
No matter how much I want to, I can’t stay mad at Willa. She was just doing her job. Because if that 100 pound dog really wanted to kill that 2 pound chicken, it really would be dead. I now think she was trying to help catch it. From now on we’ll just have to lock the chickens up first and conduct a beak count before releasing the hound. And we’ll have to keep working on that whole “leave it” thing.
As for the zombie chicken? Well, I don’t think we have to worry about her jumping the fence again. She’s now the very first chicken in the coop at night.