Survivor Chicken

I have been periodically removing chickens from one of my pens.  The goal is to have it empty before winter is in full force.  The traditional method would be to butcher them but I’ve gone wobbly and traded them off instead.  (In my defense the freezer is already full of tasty animals.)

Each time I’ve arranged a trade I’ve grabbed a couple dozen birds, put them in a “travel” cage, and driven off.  It’s not surprising that the chickens don’t volunteer for this procedure.

Chickens are like people in that some are brighter than others.  Mine are free range chickens which puts them in the Mensa/Survivalist chicken league.  They’re only penned at night.  Chickens too stupid to get in the door by sunset face a bleak and dangerous night.  Stupid chickens, like teenagers who miss curfew, tend to get into trouble.

Some chickens might have figured out that none who have entered the “travel” cage have come back.  Though that’s probably beyond the mind of a chicken.  This isn’t to disparage poultry.  Frankly I’m not sure most humans plan beyond next Wednesday.  Despite the biological unlikelihood I have the suspicion that some of my Mensa level worldly wise free ranging hens are clever enough to avoid the barn if they see me putting the “travel” cage in the truck.  I imagine them warily sitting in the forest thinking “The truck box thing is afoot.  I’m staying out of harm’s way.”  Perhaps they try to convince their brethren?  “Hear me sisters!  When the box thing is on the truck…some of us vanish.  I don’t know what’s going on but avoid the box thing.”

I’m not going to go tromping through the forest catching hens.  The fattest laziest birds, the ones that rarely leave the pen, are the first to go.  Unemployed yahoos who sit in the basement playing Nintendo should mark these words; you’re first on the list.

I call those early losers the “welfare birds”.  Good riddance to them.  Weeding out the losers means I’m left with hard working birds that are scratching up their own food part of the day.  Welfare birds are always incredibly easy to catch.  (See above: Nintendo)

After several chicken trades the welfare birds are all gone and I have to schedule my forays for when the pen door is shut and escape is impossible.  Incrementally I wind up grabbing wiser, warier birds.  That’s ok.  I need the exercise.

As for the chickens, life is not fair.  The fleet and agile evade me.  The slow and dumb do not. Every time I reach into their pen and remove a bird, the remaining ones are relatively faster, warier, tougher, stronger, and bordering on cunning.

Today, I caught and traded the last of that group of birds.  The last one could bob and weave like a prizefighter.  Whenever I’d get a hand on it it would explode in a fury of flapping and squawking more suitable to a dragon than a farm animal.

I would up frustrated, sweating, and covered with dust.  I tried talking to it with a calming voice.  “Sheesh bird,  I’m not going to butcher anyone.  I’m taking you to a bigger farm.  Where they’ve got a huge pen and lots of room and plenty of feed…”  I paused.  Everything I said was true yet even I didn’t believe myself.  How jaded have we become?  The bird was unaffected by over thinking.  It took it’s chance and blasted from the pen’s corner.  It careened across my chest, bounced off the netting, whacked into the back of my head and somehow got around me yet again.  Wow!

It took several more tries before I finally nabbed it.  Even when I had a good grip it fought like a champ, squawked enough to terrify the chickens in the other pen and get the roosters crowing, and it made several heroic pecks at my gloved hands.  This was the ninja, killer, assassin, jungle warfare, wilderness survival, Navy SEAL, “don’t turn your back on it for one second”, greatest chicken of all time!

I could only admire it’s moxie.  Before I put it in the “travel” cage I took a picture.  Because heroism, even in a silly bird, is impressive.

This chicken is seriously considering taking out the camerman.

This is what the Blair Witch Project would look like in Chicken-vision.

P.S.  When I got to the destination I had to put them in their new home.  I’ll be darned if the same bird waited until my guard was down and made a break for it right there in the driveway.  I cornered it and got it delivered, but honestly, that chicken totally won my heart.  I almost wanted to take it back home and keep it as “fully retired veteran survival hen”.  Well done!

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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8 Responses to Survivor Chicken

  1. While we may think the chickens think it’s not fair, I fully buy into the Nintendo couch-potato welfare chickens going first. The scrappers you are left with are the best ever to have. It’s just Darwin working the way it’s supposed to, and thw ay I sometimes wish it would in the human world… Nice writing! You put into words my exact thoughts on my own chickens.

  2. Barcs says:

    I think I am a little concerned with this post. Creating a breed of super chickens by weeding out the weak.

    It hasn’t been that long since I have watched planet of the apes. And I fear that you may bring the whole wold down upon us. 🙂

    • Don’t worry. I’m small potatoes. There are hordes of politicians that are trying to sink the ship. Any mayhem I institute can’t compete with the scope of the professionals.

      Also I have a hidden weapon in my arsenal. If the chickens start getting dangerous I’ll put a TV in the barn. They’ll be complacent and easily manipulated forthwith. I won’t submit them to that sort of treatment unless they make a couple serious attempts on my life.

  3. Joe in PNG says:

    It’s probably a good thing you sent that last chicken off- a ‘ninja, killer, assassin, jungle warfare, wilderness survival, Navy SEAL, “don’t turn your back on it for one second”’ chicken would likely work on ways of going on the offensive and taking the war to you.

    And even then, be careful- she may have escaped and just may be working her way back, with murder in her heart and a chicken sized Hanzo sword in hand…

  4. jefferson101 says:

    You ought to be around here.

    One of my running buddies lives on a road that has several “Chicken Houses” on it. Tyson or Pilgrim’s Pride, actually.

    He has, and has previously had, at least a dozen chickens that were escapees from the Trucks to the processing plant. One occasionally sees a somewhat dazed chicken alongside the road, as opposed to the more usual squashed chicken in the middle of a lane on the road.

    I’m sorely tempted to catch and breed them, and teach them to pick Lottery Numbers. I wouldn’t play the numbers they picked, but it could be noted that folks who invest heavily in the Lottery would probably think that a “Lucky Chicken” would be a good bet to make.

    I suspect I’d make a profit, at $5 for a dozen “Lucky Chicken Picked” numbers. I’m just not sure that I can justify stealing from the mathematically challenged. Then again, I’m getting poorer every day, what with the recession, and inflation, and all. It may be an idea for which the time has come.

    Or not. I’m not that broke just yet. But if Obama gets re-elected, I’m going into business, for sure.

  5. Phil B says:

    Try making yourself a set of Bolas’ – a light weight set is handy for tripping and immobilising the chickens without the exercise running around the yard.
    More dignified too – for you, not the chicken.

  6. Pingback: Chicken Motivation! | The Adaptive Curmudgeon's Blog

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