It was a sad, though not entirely unexpected day at the Nichols Homestead. Earlier in the day, I had gone out to the chicken coop to give them a handful of weeds. All three of them were enjoying their new roost and as I opened the top, they fluttered up a bit and I saw that the roost put them closer to the roof, and as they have gotten bigger, it occurred to me that they may be able to escape out the top. Hmmm. I should remember to latch the top, just in case. I tossed them a bunch of weeds, closed the top, and was going for a second round of weeds, thinking I would latch the top after I delivered the next round. Instead I got distracted, but something, anything. And forgot all about the latch.
The roof has been known to blow open if it isn’t latched and it was kind of gusty today. As I was driving home this evening, I listened to a voicemail from Andrea saying that she was coming to get Buck. Okay. Then I got a phone call from her. “Reenie, where are you?” “I’m a few minutes from home, where are you?” The tone in her voice alarmed me. I hoped Suzie hadn’t run out in the street and gotten hit by a car or something tragic. Nope.
Andrea had broken in (hidden key) and let all three dogs out in the yard (just as I would have done). A minute or two later, the neighbor came over. She tried to explain that she was legit, not breaking and entering, and he said that the dogs were f-ing killing the chickens. What??? Apparently his son was in the backyard and saw it all going down (thanks to that privacy fence they couldn’t see it from their spot in the carport).
She ran out back and saw that, indeed, two chickens had met their untimely end. I showed up minutes later and surveyed the yard. Andrea kept apologizing for any part Buck may have played. But it was all too clear. Three chickens were in the yard, three dogs ran out there, and only two chickens died. Buck is in the clear. Maggie and Suzie clearly ran out and each quickly took out a chicken. Frances and Geraldine were the unlucky poultry, while Agnes somehow managed to escape certain death (let’s be honest, Buck didn’t know what to do).
Andrea quickly rounded the dogs into the house, as the one remaining chicken “was just clucking about the yard” as her 3 year old daughter Monica kept saying. “Just one chicken clucking about the yard.”
The top had indeed blown open. The chickens had clearly flown the coop. Monica and Andrea helped me herd Agnes into the coop (harder than you would think) and I apologized repeatedly that it happened to my poor friend. What are the odds??
After they left, I cleaned up the remains (quite clean actually, no blood, just quick death by shaking). Jenny arrived home shortly thereafter and I broke the news to her.
Operation Chicken suffered a staggering setback today. But we will rise again. And as Monica repeated at least a dozen times “There’s still one chicken clucking about the coop.”