Challenged by a chicken

This evening, I had to go to my friends’ farm in Essex to take care of their animals while they were out at an unexpected dinner party in Worcester:

Let the dogs in, feed them, and shut them in their kennel. Make sure the chicks in the basement incubator had fresh water. Give the horses hay. Shut the laying hens in their henhouse.

Piece of cake; piece of cake; piece of cake; piece of… Houston, we have a problem.

The chickens didn’t want to go in. Blessedly, they were in their coop, so I didn’t have to try to roust them out of the garden and herd them over to it, but they weren’t having any of this in through the chicken door and let the human drop the flap stuff. Hand gestures and verbal encouragement were disdainfully ignored.

I went to the barn and got some of what my friends had said was guaranteed chicken lure: a handful of Wheat Chex. That got one of the three hens in, leaving two more milling about near and under their chicken door flap. There was no alternative: I had to go in and engage in hand-to-wing combat.

My entry into the coop sent the two rebels scuttling away, then circling back to defy the intruder. I shuffled my feet and, bent almost double, flapped my hands at the recalcitrant avians. That was enough to send the smaller hen inside, clucking indignantly.

The bigger chicken was made of sterner stuff. Even as her companion was retreating, she whirled about to face me in beady-eyed defiance, then charged, brandishing her menacing beak at me. I fended her off and tried to push her through the opening. She ducked away and lunged at me. I grabbed her around the wings and shoved her into the doorway. With a last outraged squawk, in she went, and finally I could unhook the flap and shut the bloody birds in for the night.

“Cage-Free Eggs” – no wonder they cost more.

I’d laugh…

But I’m afraid of mice. And their sharp little teeth and tiny little claws.


No laughter from me. Well, just a little. snerk
You only have to do this once, yes?

You’re lucky! The time I had to look after a friend’s chickens for 3 weeks, the whole family was meant to be away. Unfortunately, the eldest son got a job just before the holiday & had to stay home… so he did the first thing in the morning feed. Which meant that when I got there at 11 or 12 for mid day feed/check up, there were frequently 6 chickens wandering around a very large garden… a very large garden for England, and that made for a much longer chase too. And naturally, the slowest dumbest ones are the ones you catch first, leaving you the smart fast ones to chase when you’re already tired!

Every time I ate chicken for a long time after that, I thought of it as a personal revenge :D.

So far. But I’m their ace in the hole when they need emergency critter care.

And they’ve got a dozen more Plymouth Rock Barred Bantam hens-to-be in that basement incubator, just waiting till they’re big enough to roam free.

Leave the little chicken door open for them and they’ll go in by themselves. Then all you have to do is stroll out there a little bit after dusk and shut the door; they’ll already be on their roosts making happy little chookie-go-beddy-bye noises.

Well, yes, that was the plan, as outlined to me by my friends. Unfortunately, I arrived before sundown, and couldn’t hang around waiting for sunset to chase them in for me.

Besides, the idea of being defied by something I could fricassee and eat for lunch is just, you know, unacceptable. :wink:

Heh, you should’ve have taken out a big axe and walked around saying, “Okay, who’s it gonna be?”

I guess brandishing a Chick-Fil-A bag isn’t sufficiently threatening?

Or maybe wearing a chef hat and apron next time?


Hey, you’re lucky she was a hen!. Roosters can be really aggressive. I had a pet rooster when I was a kid (and a duck and a rabbit, and a cat and a dog) Every Easter the local feet store gave away baby chicks. Since my grand father was tight with the owner, I got 10! (I think I was 4 years old) 9 died. :frowning: Well, I was 4, maybe I handled them a bit too much.
Anyway, ChickChick was my constant companion, along with the dog, cat, rabbit and duck. He was also my protector, even if I didn’t need protecting. He had big, long spurs, and he knew how to use 'um.
Once, my uncle had pulled the engine out of his Chevy. He was leaning over the fender looking at some wiget, when ChickChick decided that behavior might just be a threat to his girl-child. He started running, head forward across the yard, and before anyone could warn him, the uncle was on the ground, where the engine once was. ChickChick struted off, bobbing to any hiphopper proud. I’m sure he was saying “my bad, my bad, oh baby , oh baby.”
Uncle never caught Chick Chick, but Duckyduck “ran away” a week later. :frowning:
Actually, the damn chicken would spur anyone (except me) who was foolish enough to walk around in “his” yard.
He died when I was 14. 10 years is a long time for a mean chicken.

Kythereia my husband is afraid of squirrels.

My friends did have a rooster for a while. The batch of eight chicks they’d gotten from the neighbor’s hatchery turned out to have one cock in it. He wasn’t any more aggressive than the hens as they were growing up, but they named him Stew, just in case.

Sure enough, after a few months of ruling his roost, Stew got too big for his feathery britches, and went to his nominative end. I’m told he was quite tasty.

When my brother was about 6 or 7 we had a rooster that took a personal dislike to him. Anytime he was outside alone that little rooster would chase him back in the house. I’d watch from the porch laughing my ass off. (Big brothers do that sort of thing.) Finally my brother had enough and one day while running away, he spied a big stick. He grabbed the stick and defended himself. Knocked that rooster out cold. Seriously. I had to carry the unconcious rooster to the hen house to keep one of the others, his main rival, from doing him in. My brother and the rooster had an uneasy détente afterwards.

When I was a kid we had a extremely nasty-tempered rooster who lived in our barn. For some reason he took a personal dislike to me and would chase me home from the barn every time he spotted me. He would also chase any unsuspecting visitors that came too close to the barn when he was loose. My mother thought that was so entertaining that she painted a sign that read “Caution: Attack Rooster” and hung it on the side of the barn. He only caught me once or twice but those few times were memorable–I still have a scar on my right index finger from those nasty spurs.
He lived a good long time and when he died, he was replaced by an even nastier-tempered attack turkey whose favorite hobby was attacking undefended butts. You could never turn your back when that turkey was nearby and God help you if you were ever stupid enough to bend over. And yes, my mother changed the sign to read “Attack Turkey”.

Great thread, ETF. I was kinda bummed out on the Christopher Reeve thing and this thread has given me a good chuckle. Thanks.

I once spent a week in Hot Springs, Arkansas at a chicken camp. We taught chickens to peck targets. (First we taught them to select for color, then for shape, then switched shapes, then moved on to more complex things. It was fun. Really.)

Each of us got two chickens to switch off, and invariably one of them was evil. Savvy, sharp beaked, and knew that if she pecked your arm instead of the target, you would toss her an entire container of feed instead of just one. There were several people who were traumatized by one particular bird, named Fang, who managed to back them into a corner and get the entire feed bag. The trainer insisted that this showed that Fang was smarter than average and would be a great bird to train.

The last night, we all went out for chicken. I admit, however, that every time I’ve eaten chicken since then, I’ve felt slightly guilty. They really do have distinct personalities. I try not to think about it too much.

Normally these chickens aren’t inclined to savage anyone who approaches, but I’m told by my friends that:

They’ve already lost four or five of the original flock to predators (hawks, foxes, etc.).

Oh, well. My friends pay me in hay bales for taking care of their critters, and tell me:

Started to read the post by The Punkyova and thought

Next time, just show them a picture of Col. Sanders.

LOL, I have a nasty rooster, and it hates my guts [my roommate Philippa is its mommy, she can sit there and stroke him, and he will sit in her lap.]

I gave up trying to be nice. If I go out intot eh yard and she has let him out and isnt available to put him back in, he gets the hocky treatment. I wait until he is comiong at me spike first and I hit him hard enough to send him about 20 feet distant, which gives me enough time to get into my car before he is back for blood. Feeding him has nothing to do with it, because I feed teh birds half the time. He jsut hates my guts. If he draws blood one more time he is dinner because we have another rooster jsut about mature. Which ever one pisses me off the most first is dinner.