|...Legend says she'd spend her|
days talkin' to 'em...
Good morning! 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…just Ssshhhh!) 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 “babies” across the road. It took me a full minute to wrap my brain around what the heck-y she was talking about…Then the panic started creeping in!
I’ve mentioned before we have birds. Geese, Muscovy ducks, a “I think I’m a dog” turkey, and chickens. LOTS of chickens! Among the chicken population, we have a herd of sneaky, conniving, FERTILE bantams. And all these freakin’ birds? Free range…EVERYWHERE! (Look, I'm well aware of the fact that I'm an idiot. But, hey! Thanks for reminding me!)
As I hung my head low to accompany the sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, I crossed the road 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.
|Where it all started...|
At first I thought (like THAT ever works out right!) that I could herd the little *insert a few low-level obscenities here* family back across the road where we could figure out what the heck to do with them. Have any of you ever seen any of the humorous chases from a Benny Hill episode? Or even a Scooby Doo chase…Yeah, that was what happened for the next 15 minutes! And it was mainly through briars and some kind of evil, blood-sucking tree that was covered in thorns! (Did I mention I was wearing a pair of shorts, a tank top, and no socks!?!)
After I’d reached the point where my arms and legs looked like hamburger, I gave up. Honestly, I figured the Mom would lead them home. After all, that’s where the free food and water is and this IS a domesticated fowl. Right? WRONG!
A week later and there’s still no sign of them. Every now and then, when the wind is blowing in the right direction, you can catch little snippets of phantom peeps floating to you from across the distance, somewhere in the vicinity of the Forbidden Forest.
I’ve began to have these visions of years to come. Stories will begin circulating…stories told in hushed tones around summer campfires. Stories told under blankets illuminated from within by flashlights, at slumber parties. Stories told by Grandparents to their big, disbelieving-eyed grandbabies, 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…
|The Forbidden Forest|
“I heard tell they were once the beloved pets of a crazy, wild-haired, bird-lady who lived here about these parts. Legend says she’d spend her days talkin’ to ‘em and teachin’ ‘em to eat flesh! Then, one dark day, while crazed with the heat and WAY too many medications (remember kiddies, 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 had chicks. And those chicks grew up and had chicks. And each batch of newly hatched chickens was even more blood-thirsty than the last!
“The 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 a bit a blood.
“Then it’s 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 his spine in fear!
|...when the corn is high enough|
you can't see over the tops...
“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 these 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 to it, but I’ve also gotta worry about going down in local folk lore as a “crazy, wild-haired, bird-lady!” (I HATE this kind of pressure!)
May your day be filled with safe paths to follow, non-flesh-eating pets that stay home where they’re supposed to be, and absolutely NOTHING to inspire the locals to tell their kids scary stories about you!
Now, off to figure out how to build a wall that’ll withstand torches and pitchforks…