I was minding my own business yesterday, listening to music and walking down a moderately busy neighborhood street when …
A chicken appeared on the sidewalk!
That’s not something you see every day!
Actually, we both seemed surprised. She looked at me, I looked at her and we both stood still on the sidewalk.
A passing car slowed to take a look, much to my relief. I didn’t want to leave the bird there. Despite their reputation, chickens aren’t really all that savvy about crossing the road.
“If this person stops,” I thought to myself, “she can help me catch this stray chicken.”
As you may know, chickens are deceptively difficult to catch.
The car parked by the side of the road, and in an interesting coincidence, a member of my household emerged.
“Are you walking your chickens now?”, she said, concerned. ”I know you think of them as pets, but that might be going too far.”
I explained that this individual was not my chicken, she was her own chicken and I didn’t know where she belonged.
“Who are you?”, I asked. “What’s your name?”. She only clucked nervously.
One of us blocked the bird from running into the street while the other (me) had the task of pounding on the nearest front door to ask if they were missing a chicken.
“No,” said the nice couple who answered, pleasantly ignoring the absurdity of the question. ”That chicken lives at the end of the alley.”
They gave me directions and I ran up the street, my house-mate remaining to guard the chicken against any birdbrained decisions.
I found someone in the front yard of the appointed house.
“Hello!”, I called. ”Are you missing a chicken?”
“I don’t think so,” she said slowly. ”I just counted them.”
“But maybe I better check.”
We walked back to the main street. I briefly wondered how one distinguishes between a chicken one is acquainted with and a chicken one is not acquainted with. Would I know Specklehead Chicken from any other chicken on the street? I’m not sure I would.
We turned the corner and there was my house-mate and the chicken, 40 feet away at the end of the block.
“Oh, yes!”, said my new friend. ”That IS my chicken!”
I guess I needn’t have worried.
The three of us, with help from a peach, corralled the errant bird.
There we were, in the neighbor’s front yard. Three grown women, one dressed for professional work, chasing a very competent chicken.
We lingered a few minutes, sharing stories of raccoons and bears in the neighborhood.
In the end, all was well. The chicken went home to her rightful coop, my housemate went home to dinner and I continued on my walk; all of us as if nothing had happened.
It turns out chickens are good for a neighborhood. They eat bugs, enrich the soil and introduce you to your neighbors too!
Now we know why the chicken crossed the … oh, never mind.
© 2013 Hungry Chicken Homestead
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