A Chicken in Trouble
A tale of brotherhood, masculinity, and fragile systems.
Waking up to a dead chicken is never fun. Well, this chicken wasn’t quite dead, but I’ve seen enough injured chickens to know when one is a goner. This one was sitting still on the ground, squawking pitifully as the roosters took their turns with her.
I figured the most sensible thing to do was process the bird and put her in the freezer. Once it died of its own accord, the meat would be no good and the animal would be a waste. But killing it would mean heating up a pot of water, plucking, and gutting. That takes time, which meant I would be late meeting my brother at the gym.
But the hen seemed to spring to life when I picked it up. So I figured, what the hell, I’d take a chance. I grabbed my large dog crate, set it up, put the near-lifeless bird inside, and provided her with little bowls of food and water.
Was it an act of mercy or was I too lazy to process the chicken? I honestly couldn’t tell you. But whatever got her had her half-plucked already so it wouldn’t have been that much work.
Whatever the predator was, I could tell where it had jumped over the netting. I figured it was rather large because the tall grass inside the net was flattened, as was a path by the rabbit cages that lead up through the woods.
But why was the chicken still alive and none of the others hurt? Raise chickens long enough and you’ll find yourself becoming a farm detective. I have an excess of roosters at the moment. Too many roosters leads to fighting and bald hens from excess mating.
But in this case, I figure I was lucky to have all those extra roosters. My best guess is the predator jumped into the pen and started to take its victim before being bum-rushed by a flurry of beaks and spurs. If you’re not accustomed to roosters, they can be incredibly vicious. One can ruin your day. Ten would be a legitimate threat.
I left the poor hen to recover while I hit the gym. There, I told my brother she’d be dead by the time we got back.
Her predicament was entirely my fault.
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