Bombshell – Day 27
Ever since we moved to the country seven years ago, we’ve had chickens. And when I say “ever since”, I really mean it. No sooner had our moving truck pulled into our first country rental house when I noticed chickens running around our new property. Apparently, the previous tenants had moved out and decided to just leave all their chickens without informing anyone of this decision. Thus, our “city folks” chicken education began. Now, seven years and probably a hundred chickens later, I can honestly say that I know a lot about these birds.
Like, for example, did you know that there are all sorts of different types of chickens? They’re not all just “chickens”, as I assumed when I lived in a city. Did you also know that roosters don’t just crow in the morning at sunrise, but all day long until you get so sick of hearing a rooster crow that you end up chasing them around the yard like a crazy person just begging them to shut their beaks for five minutes? I didn’t know that either. Did you know that hens (girl chickens) are really mean to each other? Like meaner than any rich, popular high school girl you would see on a made for TV Lifetime movie? For example, if you don’t separate a hen (girl chicken) when she is brooding (sitting on eggs), her other so called “chicken friends” will wait until her chicks are hatched and then peck her chicks to death?
Yes, I’ve watched a lot of strange chicken behavior over the years, but NONE stranger than the story I’m about to tell you.
We have always had free range chickens, which means that our chickens sleep in a really nice coop at night, but in the day they are free to happily peck around the yard, eating all the yummy bugs they want, taking luxurious naps in the sun and pooping on our porch so that I can step on it accidentally before I walk into our house.
This also means that when a chicken finally dies of old age, it usually happens in our yard, which makes it the worst “yard surprise” ever. A few weeks ago, Buck discovered one of our older hens dead next to the swing set. I went to investigate and after confirming she had definitely gone to the great chicken coop in the sky, I did what I always do — which is nothing. I just wait until my husband gets home from work and let him dispose of the chicken (he takes it further down our property and leaves it for a wild animal to eat).
But here’s the thing — this time I forgot to tell my husband about the hen. So the next day, I happened to look through our window when I noticed one of our roosters, Moe, prancing around the dead chicken doing a mating dance. I thought, oh my gosh, does Moe not realize that chicken is dead? Apparently not, because then Moe started to hump the dead chicken!
Wow, I thought. We obviously have a really sick rooster on our hands. Moe must have pecked too hard coming out of the shell because he seriously has some kind of brain injury. But then our other rooster, Hope, came along and started to hump the dead chicken too! Moe got very upset about Hope honing in on his action and they started to have a “No, that’s my dead chicken girlfriend” rooster fight.
This was all very horrifying and therefore, my kids and I watched it for the better part of a day.
At this point, you would think I would remember to tell my husband to remove the much sought-after, rigor mortis hen girlfriend. But I still forgot. It wasn’t until my husband came home from work completely distraught and disgusted and said, “Did you know the roosters are humping a dead chicken out there?” That I then remembered to tell him. My husband took the hen down to our wild animal eating spot and that’s where I assumed this story would end.
But it didn’t.
You see, what we didn’t know then was that our dog, Evelyn, had picked up the dead chicken and run around the yard with it, apparently removing it’s head.
My husband hadn’t noticed the missing head on the chicken when he took it down to the wild animal eating spot. So the next afternoon, I happened to look out the window and see Hope doing a mating dance around an object I couldn’t identify… which was a flattened chicken head… which Hope then proceeded to hump… until Moe came along and they had a “No, that’s my dead chicken head girlfriend” rooster fight.
At this point I sent my husband a text so that I wouldn’t forget to tell him to remove the party chicken head from our yard as soon as possible.
I know this isn’t actually a Thanksgiving story because it’s about chickens, and not turkeys. But if you’re celebrating Thanksgiving tomorrow, have a happy one, and remember to be thankful that the dead bird in front of you isn’t in our yard.