Cast and Crew

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Chicken Run

I've been thinking about Nick Park's well-known animated classic Chicken Run a lot lately. If you haven't seen it, go rent it ASAP. The chickens in that film conspire to escape their horrible living conditions, not unlike our own girls on a daily basis. The following is a run-down of a common day's events at the City Chicken Farm.

1. Wake up. Listen to the annoying scrabbling of dog toenails on the floors of their crates in the living room because I have yet to install the french doors which would divide the master bedroom from the rest of the main floor of the house, which would also allow peaceful sleeping-in on weekends, dogs be damned.
2. Stumble to the kitchen and set the tea kettle to boil.
3. Throw on a pair of mucky shoes and wander out into the backyard to dodge dog poo, soggy tennis balls, and whatever I may have forgotten to bring in from the previous day working in the yard.
4. Enter chicken coop and inspect quantity and quality of food and water available. This is not always a pretty inspection process as the girls are very good at roosting on top of the waterer and pooping into it with great vigor.
5. Open the door to the chicken condo and face the squawking accusations of sloth and apathy from six hungry hens.
6. Close the door to the coop behind yourself as you leave so as to keep the birds in their enclosure, else you will "pay the price."
7. Scrounge kitchen scraps from the early morning lunch prep and deposit them in the chickens' pen.
8. Leave for work and feel guilty about the chickens being confined all day long, despite bad weather and vicious neighborhood cats and racoons.
9. Come home, park the car, drop possessions in the house, then go back out to lock the girls up for the night. This is not as easy as it sounds. Six chickens of varying size, shape, and muscular strength all roost in a twelve-inch-wide doorway at the top of the ramp into the enclosure. They do not want to move. You are an intruder. You must be pecked. And flapped at.

This morning we had a little extra time before leaving for work. Aimee suggested I let the girls out for a little fresh foraging. I couldn't argue, especially since I frequently state how bad I feel that the chickens do not get much free range time. I went outside and opened the door to their enclosure, and they nearly ran over me to get outside. Their exuberance makes me smile. We went about our morning, casually watching them from the kitchen window, never thinking that it would be hard to get them back into the coop before we left for the day. Boy, were we wrong. I went out by myself first, thinking I could rustle them into their pen without assistance. Ha! They ran, they flapped, and when all else failed, they divided and conquered. Stupid human. Can't you catch a chicken?

Chickens 1
Humans 0

Aimee popped out the back door after a couple of minutes, asking if I needed help. My strangled cry of "YES!!!" was all she needed. The chase continued.

Chickens 2
Humans 0

*insert two boards of plywood, one yard waste bin, and ridiculous antics*

We finally chased everyone but Portia into the coop. She screamed like she was being debeaked when I finally caught her in the dead end I had built. I told her, mother hen to baby chick, that this was exactly what she deserved for nearly giving me a coronary episode yesterday. Pictures would have been the only way to truly describe the events, but, like a dope, I left the camera in the house while I was out doing yard work. I had let the girls out to roam, and they decided to follow me toward one of the gates. When I came back into the yard through that very same gate, I surprised them, and I had brought with me what they could later only describe as an enormous, venomous, deadly, purely evil SNAKE!!! Norma Jean and Portia took to the air to escape the horrible garden hose of doom, the former alighting on the fence between our yard and the neighbors', the latter finding herself atop the garden shed. Yes, that's right, Portia was standing on the roof of the garden shed. I froze, terrified that any movement from me could spook them both. Norma Jean came down first, flopping and flapping ineffectively amidst the branches of the lilac tree. Portia debated, wandered, pecked at the contents of the gutter, then did the same, landing not quite as graciously as her sister had. All in all, it was quite the adventure.

All of these trials have led me to believe that the chickens are plotting something, and that their actions both yesterday and today were merely tests, trials, if you will, to uncover our innate weaknesses as chicken farmers (aka captors). To borrow one of the best lines from the aforementioned film, "Those chickens are revolting!"

1 comment:

  1. This just cracked me up, probably mostly because I can picture the entire thing with such clarity, having chased chickens myself. Fortunately, I don't have to worry so much about them venturing into the yards of neighbors, etc. I can't believe you built that coop. You need to hire yourself out for coop building expertise. I also can't believe they do not devour every pumpkin put in front of them. Ungrateful beasts! On the other hand, perhaps they are contemplating the large a juicy bugs that will emerge from the compost heap, having feasted upon such delicacies. Tough call...


Shout out to the peeps.


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