When Chickens Fly

I wore appropriate shoes to pick up my Americauna chickens that were advertised on Craigslist.  Sensible ones.  Ones that coordinated well with the bedazzled back pockets of my jeans.  A long time ago, I realized that I could drive for hours in Georgia and still be in the same state.  Such was the case on the beautiful Saturday morning when we left our driveway at dawn to navigate the back roads to Fayetteville, Georgia.  The Englishman had shoved a large plastic dog carrier into the back seat of my Honda and I fretted that it might be too small for the six adult hens.  The MapQuest app on my phone wound us through roads unknown and two hours later we had reached our destination at the end of a forgotten country road. 

The first thing I noticed were the goats roaming the property.  “Maybe she will let you pet one of the goats,” the Englishman suggested as he peered through the herd of bearded beasts, searching for the owner.  Janet, the chicken/duck/bearded goat lady waved us over to the chain-link compound.  As we made our way toward her, the goats followed.  They seemed friendly.  One bit me in the butt.  I turned around and swatted it away.  The goat had creepy ice blue eyes and human-looking teeth.  I tried walking away.  It nipped me again.  Same place.  I picked up the pace and so did my new companion who was completely mesmerized with my sparkly, bedazzled back pockets.  Nip, nip, nip.  I escaped into the chicken only section of the compound.

Janet greeted us and then pointed out the six chickens that we were buying.  They were hanging out in the chicken yard with twenty other chickens and we would have to catch them.  First Janet lured as many “not-for-sale “chickens as possible into her yard.  One of our chickens escaped with the flock.  We concentrated on tossing the remaining five into the dog crate.  The Englishman confessed that chickens scared him ever since he was a young lad back in England and he was put in charge of collecting the eggs.  Apparently the chickens pecked him with their tiny beaks.  Wah, wah, wah.  All five were secured in the crate with no help from him.  We scanned the yard for the runaway chicken.  She was solid white so it didn’t seem like it would be too hard to spot.  Janet rang a bell and all the other chickens and goats came running with the exception of one.  Fifteen minutes later, the Englishman found chicken number six hiding in the duck house.  He carried her in his hands, arms outstretched as if he was holding a rattlesnake.  I cursed myself for leaving my phone in the car.  I really wanted to take a picture.

Transaction completed, squawking birds in the backseat and the GPS leading us home on completely different roads than before, I made myself useful by reminding the Englishman that we had chickens in the backseat and he needed to take it easy on the curves.  There were a lot of curves.  The chickens rode well in the car until there was a curve.  They flapped their wings and screeched in protest with each curve.  Feathers were flying about the car and unpleasant smells wafted toward the front.  Windows down, sunroof open and avoiding the roads less travelled, we finally made it home. 
I introduced the chickens to Cluckingham Palace, gave them fresh food and water and clapped my hands in delight as they scratched the ground with their feet.  The Englishman and I left to run some errands.  When we returned, it was almost dark.  We grabbed flashlights and hiked through our overgrown grass to Cluckingham Palace.  It was empty.  The chicken yard was empty.  We searched frantically for the chickens.  Three were balanced on the top bar of the trellis and three were in a cedar tree.  Chickens can fly, I realized.  We also realized that chickens are very docile when they are asleep.  We carefully plucked each chicken from their perches and placed them inside the chicken house.  They never woke up.  No wonder foxes can eat them.  The Englishman and I retreated to our house and made a list of everything we needed to do the next day to secure the chicken area.  It would be another early morning because chickens can fly.

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