Chicken Hunting in the Dark

This evening I ambled down to close up the greenhouse door. The weather had been quite windy and the door always has a habit of throwing itself off the runners during strong gusts. As I approached the main gate, Pam came dashing out looking rather frantic. She looked around, spotted me and came rushing up saying that she had found three chickens roaming loose on site! Immediately, we ran back through the gate and Pam showed me where she saw the first one. It was strutting around in a rather self satisfied manner on Plot 1. Every time I tried to get close, it dashed further away. It was clearly some sort of leghorn. Leghorns are fast with long legs which make them nearly impossible to catch.

I gave up trying and asked Pam to show me where the other two were. They were standing on Cliff’s path, near his coop. Despite the dimming light, I recognised them as cream legbars. Still difficult to catch as they tend to me less friendly, but a significant improvement on the leghorn. I stationed Pam at the coop door as I sprinted into my coop for some sunflower seeds to try and bribe them in. Typically, they would eat the sunflower seeds thrown on the ground but wouldn’t let me get close enough to catch them. I chased the idiot birds round and round in circles trying to get them to walk to the coop door. The plan was Pam would then open the door and the chicken would walk in.

A simple plan. After about ten minutes, we managed to get one cream legbar in through the coop door. The second one was very much more resistant to going back in. I followed this blasted hen round and round almost catching her several times before she made a mistake. Thinking hiding would be a good option, she leapt into a raised bed and disappeared. Carefully and slowly, I parted the plants and spotted her crouching in the middle of the bed. I pounced, grabbing her and pulling her out of the bed, deafened by her indignant squalks. I lobbed her into the coop and slammed the door. Two down, one to go!

We walked back to Plot 1 in the hope of finding the leghorn. There was no sign of her. Pam and I spent half an hour searching the site for her without success. We even walked along the park side of the allotment boundary in the hope of trying to find her. Even with a torch in the dark, we found no sign of her. Deciding to give up, I thanked her for all her help and ambled back home. Once home, I called Cliff to let him know we had put two chickens into his coop and that we couldn’t find the last one. He said he would come down and try to get the last one. I immediately offered to help and headed back down to site.

Cliff got there before me and came armed with a torch. We checked on the two cream legbars in his coop. They were all settled asleep on a perch with the others. Next, we wandered across to Plot 1 to try and find the last chicken. As Cliff swung his torch around, he spotted her hiding underneath a large water container. I waited until Cliff had walked around the other side before I crawled underneath. Slowly, I reached out and grabbed the chicken. I got her safely under my arm and halfway back to the coop when she suddenly began to shriek. Ears ringing, I made it to Cliff’s coop and unceremoniously threw her inside. It seems that in the high wind, Cliff’s coop door had come open and three adventurous chickens had decided to make a break for it. Happily, all three were safely back in the coop. As I walked home, I pondered on how allotment life is always full of adventure.

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