I’m sitting here, nervously twitching. I fear I may be inadvertently responsible for the impending destruction of my local ecosystem. My accidental weapon of choice? (Yes, I’m well aware the word “accidental” appears frequently in describing my tiny corner of the world, but that is SO not the point today.) Bantam chickens!
About a week ago, my daughter cautiously approached me (’cause, ya know, it’s usually the safest way to approach me) and told me she thought she’d heard the sound of babies across the road. It took me a full minute to wrap my brain around what the hellz she was talking about. Then the panic started creeping in.
I’ve mentioned before we have birds; Geese, Muscovy ducks, a turkey that thinks she’s a dog, and chickens. LOTS of chickens! Among the chicken population, we have a herd of sneaky, conniving, overly-fertile bantams. And all these freakin’ birds? Free range. EVERYWHERE!
As I hung my head low to accompany the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, I crossed the blacktop of death-by-car to investigate the sounds. Sure enough, a rogue bird had built a hidden nest ACROSS THE ROAD and against all I’m-a-predator-and-you’re-my-lunch odds, managed to hatch five tiny little balls of creamy yellow fluff.
At first I thought I could herd the little *insert a string of low-level obscenities here* family back across the road, where we could figure out what the heck to do with them. Umm…have you ever seen any of the crazy chases from The Benny Hill Show? Or maybe a Scooby Doo chase would be a better description.
Either way, that was how I spent the next 15 minutes of my life, all of it was through briars and some kind of evil, blood-sucking tree that was covered in thorns. (Did I happen mention I was wearing a pair of shorts, a tank top, and no socks!?!)
When I reached the point where my arms and legs looked like hamburger, I gave up. Honestly? I figured the Mom would lead them home, since that’s where the free food and water is and I was dealing with a domesticated fowl. Right? WRONG!
Here it is a week later and there’s still no sign the little bastards. Although, every now and then, when the wind is blowing just right, you can catch the faint snippets of phantom peeps, floating to you from across the distance, somewhere in the vicinity of the Forbidden Forest.
I’ve began to have visions of years to come. Stories that will begin circulated, told in hushed tones around summer campfires, by the glow of flashlights in blanket forts at slumber parties. Stories told by Grandparents to their big, disbelieving-eyed grandbabies, as they’re snuggled in their beds with the blankies pulled up to their noses in fear.
Stories of the colony of feral chickens that haunt the fields and forests of rural Indiana…
I heard tell they were once the beloved pets of a crazy, wild-haired, bird lady who lived ‘round about these parts. Legend says she’d spend her days talkin’ to ‘em and teachin’ ‘em to eat the flesh of anyone who dared to step foot on her property.Then, one dark day, while crazed with the heat and WAY too many medications (remember kids, drugs are BAD!), she sent ‘em out into the World to do her evil biddin’.“Go! Fly! Be free!” she commanded! And that’s exactly what they did. They flew off inta the woods, where humans fear to go. And they began to hatchin’ chicks. And those chicks grew up and hatched more chicks with each batch of young’uns even more blood-thirsty than the last.
It’s said they live high up in the trees where they waits for some poor, unsuspectin’ soul to wander, lost and alone, under their perch. Then? They drops down on their heads in a flurry of feathers, claws, and beaks, peckin’ and slashin’ ‘til there’s naught left but bones and maybe a bit of hair.Then they fliy off to their meetin’ spot, where they do their wild, frenzied dances of celebration. They say the cluckin’ and crowin’ that goes on at these gatherins is terrifyin’ to behold. The noise’ll shatter a strong man’s eardrums and freeze him in his tracks in fear!So remember kids, NEVER wander off the paths or go off playin’ in the fields when the corn is high enough you can’t see over the tops. That’s the matin’ times, when the creatures crave flesh the most. Them’s the times when children should be safe at home in their rooms, where their Mommies and Daddies can see ‘em. ‘Cause them’s the times when the chickens’ll get you, if you don’t watch out!
Great! Now, not only do I have to worry about possibly wrecking an eco-system by introducing feral, eight inch tall chickens into it, but I’ve also gotta worry about going down in local folklore as a crazy, wild-haired, bird-lady! (Man, talk about your pressure!)
Since I’m basically too lazy to go back out in search of the feathered asshats, I guess I should start working on how to build a wall that’ll withstand torches and pitchforks.