Thursday, January 19, 2012

Moving The Chickens

Well, the new chicken coup still does not have a metal roof, but the decision was made to move the chickens any way. The tar paper should be enough to keep the inside snug and dry, and so far it has. We actually moved the chickens a while ago, but I am just getting around to writing about it because I am a terrible lazy person.

Now, moving the chickens from the old coup to the new involved waiting until they were all inside and ready to sleep, and then catching them and carrying them to the new coup. We decided to use the net. Now the thing about the net is that the old coup is small, with a low ceiling. So bashing the net on things was almost a guarantee. Also, in order to get the nest boxes out, we had to remove the window. Or more correctly, what was once a window that was now a hole in the wall covered with chicken wire.

It was decided that I would be inside netting, and that Scott would stand outside the window, take the net and deposit the ruffled chickens to their new home. I got into position, cornered my prize rooster and swoop, in he goes. Then, as quick was he went in, he thrashed his way out of a rooster sized hole in the net and ended up back on the floor of the coup, looking around with a bemused expression.

On to plan B. Scott goes to fix the net and I pull the piece of mill felt that the previous owners had been using as window shutter down, and prop it closed with the remains of the window. I step back inside, and proceed to use my Level 6 Chicken Catching Skills to catch me some chickens. I am rather good at catching chickens, if I do say so myself.* I have caught and moved four chickens by the time Scott comes back. I revel that I have been doing all right without the net, but he feels the need to use it since he spent time fixing it. So in he goes.

Everything was going fine, surprisingly. He would hand me out the net, and I would grab the top to keep the desperately flapping bird inside, and run it over to the new coup, return the net, and the whole process would start again. I learned to keep the shutter flap down, since the guinea hens would fly for daylight if they could see it. I could not resist however, peeking through a corner, and watching the action.

Some of the chickens were quite stupid, and would panic, running out into the open and promptly getting caught. Others were smarter, hanging back at the edge of a large group, and tying to stay under the cover of the perches. It was great fun from my stand point, except that when one of the chickens would freak out and fly they would fan dust and dirt right into my face. My eyeballs were getting kinda gritty.

However, on the last bird, which turned out to be a god damned motherfucking guinea hen, everything went wrong. Scott passed her out, and I tried to close the top of the net, but she was in at such an angle that I couldn't get it closed all the way. Now let me take a moment to explain that guinea hens can fly. Not as good as ducks, mind you, but pretty god damed good. Like, way better then chickens good. Like, right out of the top of my shitty net good. I saw what was happening in slow motion,** but I wasn't fast enough. I could see her flapping away, the net coming off her like the cheap piece of shit it was, my hand letting go of the net and moving so fucking slow through the air. I meant to grab her wing, right at the shoulder, but she was already moving, her sleek gray body sliding away through the cold air.

I made a grab.

I felt my hand close around something, and I remember thinking 'I've got her!” Then time sped up again because he's a dick like that. I looked down to realize that I was holding a handful of tail feathers. I looked up to see the guinea hen flying majestically away into the woodland. Possibly to start a new life free of nets and humans and reliable feeding schedules.

Son of a bitch. Me and Scott made a half hearted attempt to look for her. Half hearted because we had no idea what we were going to do if we found her, and also because it was getting dark and cold. Luckily I found her the next morning, safe and sound in the old coup, where I promptly lost her through the window, chased her into a corner in the garden, netted her, and placed her into the new coup where she was reunited with her friends.

So the chickens were moved, and no body died, or got lost, or exploded or anything bad like that. Win? Win. WIN!

*Remind me to tell you about the time that the rooster got lose in my dad's house.

** I have always wanted time to slow down during a catastrophe. Normally when something terrible happens my auto pilot shows up and takes over and don't remember a thing from the moment the bad thing started till when it was over, besides running. It's always THAT'S FALLING! And then- “why am I standing all the way over here?” And the one time, the ONE TIME it does and it's all cool, it's all because of a stupid motherfucking guinea hen. Sonofabitch.

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