ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY:   Chicken crosses the street while on the run

© Another Day in the Country

Whenever it’s a while between stories of my chickens, invariably someone will ask, “Still got chickens?”

Yep, I’ve still got chickens. The ones at the Big House are laying like mad having been on “artificial sunlight” all winter. The others are taking a brief sabbatical.

Earl Gray, the rooster or CEO as the hens know him, is very much in command over there, recently leading forays into my young potato rows, dusting themselves in the loose soil and generally raising havoc with my mulch job.

I use newspapers under the old hay and yesterday after Jess let the chickens out, she was running after newspapers up and down the block that had been released into the wind by the chickens scratching.

Now, I get to do the job all over again. This time I’ll try wetting everything down afterward and see if that helps.

We’d almost forgotten about King Tut, the feisty rooster we gave to the neighbor last summer after he decided to try and reign supreme over us! NOT!

Jess called one morning last week, sounding a little frantic, “King Tut is back! He’s trying to pick a fight with Earl Gray through the screen door on the chicken house.”

Tut had gotten out once before and ended up in my yard and I’d chased him back into his own territory.

This time he’d actually crossed the street.

He was down to one hen at his house and I think he was going door to door proselytizing, seeing if any of the other girls needed saving.

It’s become a habit, his running.

Several days ago, King Tut’s keeper tried getting him back on his own turf without a lot of luck.

I looked up and saw my neighbor running past the window, then again! It was a worthy try, covering several back yards, round and round my house before the mission was semi-accomplished.

Later in the day, Tut was out again and this time Jess tried chasing him home with the lawn mower — TTT’s old zero-turn.

I heard the mower, saw Jess whizzing around her yard faster than usual, wondered what she was doing, and then spied the rooster running flat out in front of her.

He really didn’t like the sound of the mower so Jess parked the mower — as a warning — over by the chicken house when she had to go run an errand.

“It’s supposed to be a deterrent,” she said.

Earl Gray took up where the lawn mower left off and managed to at least keep Tut out of the immediate vicinity of the hen house.

I was surprised because Earl Gray has lost his tail feathers and for some reason they aren’t growing back in which leaves him looking bob-tailed and very ineffective, especially to a Single Comb Brown Leghorn like King Tut who is sporting all his feathered finery.

This morning at sunrise I heard a rooster crowing and looking out my door saw King Tut, followed by one brown hen, strutting down his driveway heading for greener pastures. Out early, on patrol, for sure he’s decided to be a free range chicken.

At the small chicken house in my yard, Dove has decided she wants to set.

I’ve learned my lesson with her!

She’s an undisciplined, skittish air-headed hen and I’ve vetoed her plans.

The only thing that girl has going for her is that she lays this beautiful blue egg every day, until now.

I get such a kick out of having chickens, even though they are constant work. I love letting them roam in the yard.

There is something so soothing about watching them hunt for bugs, even though they disrupt my mulch.

Once they’ve had their fill, they find a spot in the sun for a dust bath and I feel more relaxed, content, just watching them.

They’ve a favorite spot beside the porch. I can hear them talking softly to each other, enjoying the warmth of the late afternoon.

Their world is at peace, momentarily, and so is mine.

Later, I throw grain into the pen and call them to come. I figure I’m going in, so should they, so I don’t forget to close the gate.

Dandy, my resident rooster, called excitedly “Come and get it. Look what’s here,” and the hens came running in — except for Mary, who is older and knows her own mind.

She was still scratching around up by the house in a flowerbed, taking her leisure.

Suddenly, Dandy looked up, noticing that one hen was missing and he took off at a dead run, wings akimbo, scolding as he ran.

Mary saw him coming and just resignedly sat down right where she was and waited for him to get there.

She knew the routine. She was unperturbed, “alright, alright,” she seemed to say, “Get it over with…”

He had to do his dominance dance and then she got up, straightened her skirts and came in for the night.

It was just another day in the country.

 

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