Sunday, July 25, 2010

Stalking the Wily Chicken

Junior chicken, so named because she looks just like her mother, Missy (so does Baldy, if it hadn't been for the unfortunate head pecking she got as a young pullet her first day in with the rest of the flock), disappeared a couple of weeks ago. Missy used to pull that trick every summer for years, reappearing three weeks later with a newly-hatched clutch, so we haven't been too worried about Junior yet.

Junior disappeared last year, too. I watched the calendar and eventually found her nest. But Junior's too fast, and flies too well, for our little Bantam rooster, Coach, to catch, I guess. After four weeks, and nothing hatching, we took the eggs away from her and got her back in with the rest of the flock.

This morning, while I was out hanging some laundry on the line, Junior came up squawking for food. I kept an eye on her while she gobbled up the feed I put down for her, and then as she got a drink of water. Then she went over to where I'd been watering a plum tree, and proceeded to dust-bathe. Finished with the laundry, I sat down on a log a little ways away from her to watch and wait, to see if I could find where she's been hiding.

She knew I was watching though. She pretty much finished with her bath, but then just stayed in her little hole, murmuring and clucking to herself, picking a bit a the dirt around her. I sat, she sat. I tried facing off towards the distance, keeping her in sight from the merest corner of one eye. No dice. She was in a nice damp hole in the shade, I was in the sun and the humidity from last night's brief thunderstorm made it even hotter.

Ok, something's got to give - guess it'll have to be me. I got up to move the water on a couple of the trees. When I was clear down at the bottom of the lot, she jumped up and ran up towards the house. I ran too, just barely keeping her in sight - she was heading towards the shed. By the time I got up there, she was nowhere in sight. Under the fence? Under the shed? Wait! There, in the middle of a clump of Oregon Grape next to the patio, a leaf wobbled back and forth in the still, heavy air. Gotcha!


Annodear said...

Wily indeed! I had no idea :-D

Anonymous said...

Too funny. =)

Anonymous said...

Definitely "poultry in motion". lol
Colorado sister

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