September 18, 2014 – I made a point of stopping in to see the bantams today to schedule another class of Pullet Camp. As I approached their little coop, I realized that not a peep was coming from the inside or from the temporary run that Mom had set up for them. I tenderly crept alongside the henhouse and peeked in the window. It was empty. I was starting to feel a bit uneasy. Immediately, I went into safety mode. I sidestepped along the exterior of the chicken condo, my back feathers scraping on the roughly hewn pine siding. I stopped to take another listen. Not a sound! I wish I had remembered my whistle or colander helmet. You never know where trouble lurks. I thought about heading back to the chicken yard for reinforcements, but time did not permit. I would need to investigate the status of the pullets, be they in peril or missing altogether.
My wings were sweaty. Then I spotted a pot holder on the patio table. It would have to do. I left my cover, walking backwards until the mitt was in my hands. I put it on my head. It was not as resistant to blows as the metal colander, but it was armor. Then I noticed the metal poker that Mom left next to the fire pit. I crawled on my stomach to retrieve it and worked myself back to the bantam’s house. At least I had some way to defend what might be left of our baby flock.
My feet slid in silence until I reached the full length of the side wall. One more step and I would have a clear view of the run. I would have given anything at that moment for my spy mirror on a stick.
Focus hen! I chastised myself. The future of this henhouse depends on you!
I took a deep breath, adjusted the pot holder, counted to three in my head and surged forward screaming obscenities made up from nonsensical words. I swirled the fire pit poker in invisible ribbons all around my head. When I didn’t hear any return yells, I stopped.
Six of the pullets were lined up against the far wall of the run engrossed in the contest before them. Grainne and Henrietta were in the middle of a staring contest for the upper spot in the pecking order. Neither one flinched, not even when I burst onto the scene. I might as well have been invisible. No one noticed my entrance – except for Tenley, that is, who leaned over and asked Pippa if someone had hired a clown for the event. A CLOWN!!
Obviously, the pullets were fine but are sorely lacking in the acknowledgement and understanding of safety protocol. A lesson will most definitely be coming.
I tossed the pot holder on the table and returned the poker to the fire pit. I was beginning to feel a little obsolete, until Maisy and Dotty came running up to me.
“Quick, Happy! We need your help! Dolly Parton is having a go around with the gray feline from down the street!”
I saw Tim and told him to sound the warning signal. All hens on deck! Sawyer and Wilma met me behind the smelly bush to grab the sling shots. Emaline, Chalotte and Addie followed quickly behind and handed each of us our helmets. Waffles and Betty dragged in a bucket of crabapples. Bo exploded onto the scene from the side yard. He looked at us before advancing on the cat. We nodded that we had his back. That’s all he needed. He sprang into action charging the feline and nailing her in the backside with his spurs. The cat hissed at him, challenging him for more. Dolly took the opportunity to escape and soon joined us under the bush. The cat taunted Bo, circling him dramatically like a matador. Bo scratched his feet in the loose dirt beneath him, never taking his eyes off the intruder. Just at the moment when we thought the cat was going to pounce, Bo took a step backwards, opening the way for us to pummel the furry thug with fast-flying crabapples. She took off in a hurry, disappearing into the woods.
I don’t think she’ll be back this way for a while. We are a formidable force when we work together.
A few minutes later, Wilma announced that she was taking a walk to the grove and while she was there would stop in to check on the babies. I grabbed a pot holder and shoved it on her head.
“Sneak up on them with the poker,” I laughed. “They’ll love it!”
All it’s going to take is for one of those young feathers to call Wilma a clown. They’ll be icing their egg chutes for a month!