Saturday, October 25, 2008

Terror In The Heartland

HH and The Pony went to pick up the chickens this morning. The chickens HH is going to raise on our 20 acres, unfenced, with every family out here having 2 or 3 dogs roaming loose. HH and The Pony picked up the wire crate out of the back of the truck, and carried it to the front yard so I could admire the two hens and a rooster that are expected to establish our chicken dynasty.

Tank the Beagle was the first dog to investigate. He ran round and round the cage, sticking his nose to the wire, getting a peck every now and then. When the chickens arrived, they were happily clucking away in their chicken lingo. After 5 minutes of swirling from side to side in the cage to avoid Tank, they became silent. Grizzly the old dog went next. He was more cautious. That's until HH put all 3 chickens in the dog pen. Without the dogs, people. It's the wire pen we had to buy when The Veteran gave us Tank for free one Christmas. Ann the black Shepherd joined her partners in crime at the pen. They each got on a different side, with Tank and half-Beagle Grizzly baying like they'd just discovered the internet inside a giant Easter Bunny.

HH said the dogs were fine, though I insisted they were going to tunnel under that pen and eat some chickens. After about 10 minutes of this barking frenzy, HH grabbed a stick off the nearest tree, and whacked Grizzly in the head. "Enough!" he shouted. Because everbody trains their dogs to know that 'enough' means to stop barking at chickens. The #1 son captured the moment on his iPhone. He was laughing his fool head off.

I have made it clear to HH that I did not want these chickens. I told him they would be dead before nightfall. When he put them in the dog pen, I told him they would fly out over that 6-foot fence. HH said, "Aw, these are young chickens. They don't even know they can fly yet." Then he went off to pick up his Number One Son with his stepkids, who are 9 and 5 and 4.

The Pony waited eagerly for them all to get back, because the were going to work on a chicken house and have a hot dog roast down at HH's shanty. The chickens had arrived around 11:00. By 12:30, The Pony went out to see if HH was back yet, and ran in the house all excited. "I saw two chickens down by the edge of the woods! I think I can catch one of them." I told him no, it would just get out again. And anyway, The Pony is no match for a flogging, pecking chicken. He didn't even know that you're supposed to grab them by their legs. OK, maybe that's not good for the chicken, but that's how we caught them when my old school Athletic Boosters loaded chickens for Tyson. That means we went to a chicken farm and walked down those LOOONG rows of cages, and reached in and grabbed out chickens to put in cages on tall racks of cages, like the rack of bread the Wonder Bread man pushes around in The Devil's Playground. That's what we earned money for, getting those chickens loaded onto a big truck. From there, I suppose they were whisked off to Tyson to become various entrees.

I called HH, who was almost home, who said the chickens would be fine. He drove up, and still declined to catch them, saying, "They can fly up in a tree if anything gets after them." I reminded him of his earlier words. "I thought you said they were so young they didn't even know how to fly." HH's reasoning was that of course they knew how to fly. But he still said they couldn't fly out of the dog pen. He said they jumped up on the small dog house, then to the big dog house, then to the top of the 6-foot fence, from where they jumped to the ground. These chickens need their own cartoon adventure show.

I started writing this around 1:30. At 2:00, the #1 son called me from his iPhone in the front yard. He was on the Scout with the 3 little kids, and he said, "Um...there are two dead chickens in the front yard." I told him to take the kids back down to the MiniMansion, and tell his dad. Well, that went about as well as you would expect. The whole pack of them came back up, and watched HH call the dogs over and stick a dead chicken in each one's face and then beat them with the dead chicken until they'd had enough.

I know some of you are cringing, others are sobbing into moist Kleenexes, a few are cheering, and one is dialing 1-800-PETA-POLICE.

Welcome to my world.


DeadpanAnn said...

I can tell you 3 things about chickens:

1. You can't keep a chicken in a pen
2. You can't keep a dog from a chicken. And
3. Ironically, you can't keep a redneck from bringing them home anyway.

My mom, who has been raising them for 25 years and ought to know better by now, just spent $1200 on an escape proof chicken pen. She still spends most of her free time trying to round up escaped chickens. The only reason she's able to keep any alive is because the dog owners in the area learned a long time ago that she would blow a chicken-chasing dog's head off without hesitation. They pretty much keep them put up now.

Stewed Hamm said...

So... what'd you guys have for dinner? Not omelet, I'm guessing.

Hillbilly Mom said...

Miss Ann,
Ever the optimist, my redneck wants me to ask Basementia Buddy if she will give us two hens. I am going to ask her if she will SELL us two hens. The #1 son has been to her house to play paintball with her son (we won't mention the unexplained incident of her parrot dropping dead the day after), and reports that she has about 30 chickens.

I can't even go into the other two points you make. They lend themselves to a whole separate (if boring) post.

Nope. We had FRIED CHICKEN! Seriously. But it wasn't THOSE chickens. It was frozen crispy fried chicken in a box from Save-A-Lot, my store of preference, ever since that woman followed me around telling me I was SO PRETTY.