The Great Chicken Hunt
It all started last spring. It seemed so innocent at the time. The hen wanted to set so bad. What would the harm be in letting her have some chicks to raise? We’d have more chickens. She could go all broody. Win win.
Well. Two hens decided to set. Between the two of them they hatched quite a few chicks. It was all good. They stayed out in the trees. They didn’t eat the garden. They raised them to be wild creatures. Pheasants in chicken form. Then they moved back into the yard. It started to be a problem. Most of the chicks turned out to be roosters. White roosters. Where did that come from? I hate white chickens. So albino like.
Once in the yard they eventually moved to the trees right outside the bedroom window to roost. Then they got big enough to start crowing.
I started making nightly trips out to chase them out of the trees. They came back. One night I’d had enough. I was tired. They had been crowing since four thirty in the morning. Every morning. For weeks. I snapped. I was going to kill them I went into the house for a gun. My level headed husband stopped me on my way out the door with the 22. He pointed out the dangers of using a rifle, even a small one to shoot chickens in the yard surrounded by houses and vehicles. I admitted his wisdom in this but swore to come back with something more fitting.
I told him I was going to go buy a shotgun. He said I couldn’t just do that. I said I could. I asked his father if he had a smaller shotgun. He said only a 12 gauge. I went to walmart. When I told them I wanted a gun to go kill something they were happy to oblige. They looked at each other in that infuriating condescending manor that men have. Like, how cute, the little lady wants a gun. Maybe her husband can show her how to hold it. They were annoying but I wanted to kill things. I didn’t get the gun.
I wanted to wait and do some research first.
The gun sold the next morning. I was sad, research had found it to be a good one. The whole thing got the father in law thinking though. He remembered that he did have a 20 gauge up at the house I could try. Worked for me. I just wanted to kill things and it was a much better gun than the walmart special.
The chickens let me sleep for a few days after that. I wasn’t driven to a murderous rage. The gun sat untouched. Until it didn’t. At four thirty they started. The unending rounds, continuous and loud. Au au aaoooooo. Over and over. A small break in the middle to let you think maybe thy were going to stop. Then again. And again. And again. Until the real alarm finally went off.
I was the first out of bed for once. I met my husband eye, he read my mind. Go shoot the roosters he said. He would get the kids up and dressed.
Out the door I found three of them still sitting in the same tree. Hanging out. Maybe not crowing any more. I didn’t take the shot. Houses, vehicles. Saner minds prevailing. All that. I stalked them as they wandered down the drive. Waiting, cursing them, hoping for a clear shot. The other chickens joined them. They all went under the semis. I was loosing hope. Then they separated. My hated ones moving away from the good chickens who don’t crow outside my window. On down the driveway I got a clear shot. Taking a deep breath I pulled the trigger.
Dang safety. Turning it off I tried again. And missed! What in the world! The safety thing must have messed with my concentration. Around the grain bins I tried again. This time I got one. He was down but not out, forcing me to finish the job. Nasty business. Then it was back to see the children off to school.
Once they were gone I went back. This time they were out in the wheat. I got a clear clean shot. Nothing behind them. One shot each, on either side of a rooster who was not on the receiving end of my hatred. Two shots, two roosters, problem solved.
Then of course there was a whole new problem. I didn’t want them to go to waste. I’m willing to eat chicken even if others in the family are not. I sat in the wheat, plucked and cleaned one. Then hauled the other back up to the house to work on. As I plucked, with the rooster up on a lick tub for easier reach, I looked closely and saw a small bug crawling across the plucked bare skin. Then another. Then looked and saw two crawling up my arm! That was the end of that. I tossed the whole lot of them in the dead pile and called it good. Blood and guts are one thing, poultry lice is another.