Saturday, July 5, 2008

Mutiny on the Prairie

It started out like any other day, this Forth of July did. Aye, but little be it known the adventures that awaited us. If you've been hanging out around here for a while you know the story about my Dad's chickens. And how we got started on this whole chicken escapade to begin with. If not you need to go read about it here.

Well, with the hen house finally finished I decided earlier in the week it was time to contact my Aunt and Uncle and arrange to pick up the remaining chickens. I didn't know how many they had, what breeds they were or whether they were hens or roosters. I just knew that they were Dad's chickens or at least the descendants of his birds.

We arrived home late Thursday night to a message on the machine from my Uncle saying they had the chickens ready to go. He had "five big ones and four little ones". I started to worry that I might not have enough room for them all, but we took off Friday morning to go fetch them.

My other Aunt had loaned us an antique chicken crate to carry them home in and my Uncle had the birds packed up and ready to go by the time we arrived. Then he also had a cardboard box with SIX not four baby chicks in it. I was shocked, I had thought he was talking about the bird's size when he said "little" not babies! We loaded them up babies and all and headed home. This is where the fun began.

It seems these are not your average domestic chickens. Nope, these are wild, free-range rapscallions. They're bantams, which for those readers not familiar are miniature chickens. Miniature chickens that can fly WAY better than regular chickens. When we opened that crate they came shooting out like fireworks! We had to take cover outside the pen leaving the crate and whatever else got in our way behind. After a few minutes, once my heart was no longer pounding out of my chest, I decided to go back in and get it. This is when I realized these chickens have some cunning street smarts. You leave a tiny little gap in the temporary fencing and they WILL find it and fly out. Luckily they only flew out into the other part of the run. The engineer tried to catch one and it few out of THAT pen into another one.

Somewhere around this time I'd gone into the house for body armor and while trying to exit the building the dogs, who had been watching the fiasco from the back porch, knocked me to the ground and escaped. There were birds panicking, dogs barking and jumping, feathers flying, fur raised and not a leash to be found. Finally, I managed to dig one out of the bottom of the kid's outdoor toy box, got the big dog and dragged him back to the house and locked him in the pantry while the engineer wrangled the little dog.

The mutiny continued for a time. Those little suckers are FAST. In an odd twist of luck the blimey buccaneers eventually flew back where they belonged. We reinforced that temporary fence so fast it would have made your head spin had you been here. It now resembles a stockade. Neither of us are going back in until they run completely out of food and water.

Meet Blackbeard,
One-eyed Calico Jack (with his good eye showing)

The Wenches
and the Scallywags.

The scallywags are indoors in a brooder where I hope to teach them some more refined chicken behavior than their parents can provide. Chicken charm school if you will. Today the pirates are settling down a little and accepting their sentence to the brig. I think they're trying to bribe their way out though. They left us the first little blue egg. Yes, blue. They're Easter Eggers!


Amelia said...

I loved the chicken story escapade. Your names for them seem so fitting.

Do keep us abreast of the baby chicks in their growing and adapting to their new home.

Sandy said...

OMG! This is the perfect post to tell you that I have a little something for you at my spot. Please come and see!

I sure hope you teach those scallywags some manners! LOL

StitchinByTheLake said...

Since I've only recently found your blog I went back and read about your Dad's chickens. Bravo! to the family who let him order those chickens - you're a family after my own heart. :) My Dad would have called your chickens "banties". Guess that's Southern for bantams. I know you're going to have so much fun with them! Blessings, marlene

Renee said...