My niece Nic has chicks. In fact, there are four and they are no longer chicks. They are egg-laying (or soon to be) chickens. Her and her husband and their two children live in a suburb of a small metropolis. I’m not going to give you any more detail than that because their town isn’t zoned for chickens. So, if they get busted they will have to turn their chickens in or worse, turn their chickens into supper. That would be a sad day and will not happen on my account.
This whole scenario is funny because it’s my niece Nic. When she was growing up, I always pictured her settling in a thriving metropolitan area. I pegged her as a bright lights, big city kind of girl. Instead, she has four chickens. I might add, four chickens that recognize the sound of her voice and flock to her. That’s right, chickens may be dumb but they ain’t stupid. They know who their meal ticket is.
Nic’s backyard is situated on a hill and they keep the coop up the hill away from the house. In part, to keep the egg-laying production a covert operation. However, the chickens do not seem to understand that it is for their own benefit to remain hidden. When an opportunity presents itself, they make a break for it and head down the hill. Sometimes they are very naughty and go to the front yard or to the neighbor’s.
It happens enough that B, my two-year-old grand-nephew, knows the drill when an escapee is present. Yesterday, he was showing me tricks on the trampoline. All of a sudden, he stopped and said, “Look, Ceena, chicken!”
I turned and was surprised to see a creepy little chicken behind me. “Where did you come from?” I asked it. It looked a little too panicked to answer me. Plus, I’m not fluent in cluckinese.
Unfortunately, it hesitated a little too long. B slid off of the tramp and was by the chicken’s side in a matter of seconds. B is at least a good head taller but the chicken weighs more. So, they are roughly the same size. “Chicken!” B scolded. He picked it up in his arms. I’m not going to lie, watching him carry the feathered culprit made me gag a little. I’m sure the chicken stunk or at least smelled unpleasant like… feathers.
B proceeded to walk under the trampoline since its a few inches taller than him. He took the fugitive over to the swing set. He set the bird down and then tried to direct it, “Chicken, go up hill,” he said. He swung his foot to nudge it but his little leg missed it completely. This was probably a good thing because he has not developed his nudging skills yet. The chicken might have interpreted it as a kick and who knows what kind of bird retaliation we would have had on our hands? Not pleasant, I’m sure.
“Chicken, up hill,” B did his best to persuade the bird but to no avail. The chicken knew that B is not Nic and refused to be obedient.
“C’mon B,” I said. I was still in my dress from church and I was hungry and let’s face it, the chickens are not a priority to me. “Let’s go in.”
B walked under the trampoline over to me. I was just about getting him focused to go in the house when the stupid chicken popped back over.
“Chicken!” B yelled. The bird had enough. It must have finally developed its strategic escape plan which was, RUN! It darted down the path to the front yard.
“Chicken!” B managed to get in front of it. “Ceena, chicken,” he said and expected me to do something drastic like touch it.
After 22 years of being an aunt, I knew exactly how to solve this problem. “Let’s go get your mom.”
“Uh.” I don’t think B liked my solution but I held firm to it. After all, he is only two.
“Go tell your mom,” I said.
He realized I was not going to be any help in this matter and ran inside. His mom and dad went outside to retrieve the chicken and placed it back in its coop with its friends. I’m sure there were some wild chicken stories that night as it regaled over and over again its near escape.
The night before, we watched the movie Chicken Run. My niece and her husband giggled through the whole thing. Perhaps, they now understand what their chickens are thinking?