July 2, 2013– I woke up this morning thinking today was going to be low-key. I should have known better with this group! Wilma has a concern that as she gets older it is harder for her to maintain optimum weight for a hen of her age and breed. She has been watching every “Infomercial” on TV that has to do with burning excess belly fat. After lunch, I was walking back from the mailbox when I heard a commotion that sent panic through my veins. Oh, no! I thought, taking off in a run for the chicken yard. Predator attack! But it wasn’t a marauder at all. It was the squawking and shrieking of 13 chickens aboard the deck of a very-much-in-motion treadmill. I rushed over to Sawyer who was desperately trying to preserve her grip on Wilma’s left wing, while Wilma’s right wing was latched in a death grip around the treadmill’s metal frame. “What is this!?” I asked, frantically trying to size up the situation. “Wilma wants to get off the treadmill, and it won’t let her go!” She responded in quick and labored breaths. They were all trying to help. I watched my feathered family tumble and toss about like dented cans on a grocery store conveyor belt. As one chicken fell, another fearlessly grabbed a hold of her and pulled her back to her feet, all in an urgent attempt to reach Wilma at the head of the line. Even Bo joined the free-for-all. He had Charlotte’s ankle clenched in one wing and Waffle’s tail feathers clasped in the other. They were all whooping and hollering while an exhausted Wilma neared her physical limit. I walked over to the junction box and pulled the plug. The treadmill surrendered. The belt came to an immediate stop sending the back half of the line scrambling rump over teakettle under the smelly bush. I helped Wilma up and led her back into our coop for a muscle rub and some chamomile tea. Then, I offered the same service to the rest of the flock. When all was once again quiet, I took apart the treadmill and wheeled the pieces back to the garage in my wagon. What a day.
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