a funny thing happened on the way to the chicken coop

(Linking up with yeahwrite!)

Not really ha-ha funny, though. Unless of course you’re the type of person that would LOL at a bloody crime scene, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

I had just snuggled up on the couch with my deadlines and a glass of wine. It was around 10pm, I had caught my second wind, and I was feeling pretty “I got this” about it all. Totally set to show my to-do list who’s boss.

What happened next was a twisted mix of The Prom Scene from Carrie Meets “American Gothic”, except replace the pitchfork with a shovel and switch out the pink taffeta for my pajamas and slippers.

You may recall from my About section that we are the proud owners of eight seven let’s call it six chickens. We sort of epitomize City Slickers in this department, but we are hell-bent on doing right by these birds despite what you may read below.

Here’s how it played out:

Me: La-de-da, I heart Photoshop! Pretty pictures! Unicorns! Rainbows!

John: Yeah, I’m really happy with their latest upgra…. WHAT THE HELL WAS THAT? DID YOU HEAR THAT? (leaps from couch and flies onto the deck, down the stairs, into the pitch black night).

Me (to no one in particular): I can tell already these slippers will never be the same, but there’s no time to change! I’ll burn them later! Where’s the damn flashlight?!?!

I shuffled my way out to the crime scene chicken coop (yes, shuffled. Have you ever tried to run in slippers?). I wasn’t sure if I wanted to turn the flashlight on or remain in the dark (literally and figuratively).

At the risk of getting hate mail from PETA, I can’t think of a better way to describe this: those ladies were carrying on like – well – chickens with their heads cut off. Only it was chicken singular, and, unfortunately, not a metaphor. Really, her head was cut off. Not so much cut off as bit off. And not so much her head as the entire right side of her body. I feel like a train wreck right now and I want to stop describing this but the words are already barreling down the hill and the brakes have gone out.

Let’s cut get to the chase:

John: THERE IS A RACCOON IN THE HEN HOUSE!

Me: Crap! WTF!

(Meanwhile, an opportunistic chicken saunters as if in slow motion out of the coop, wandering off into the yard (no need to ponder why THIS chicken would cross the road – to get away from these negligent, psychotic chicken owners, obviously!).

Me: Crap! We lost one!

John: Yeah, we lost one back here too! There’s a dead chicken!

By this time, the raccoon has slipped off into the dead of night. We get the Lonesome Wanderer back into the hen house (chickens are tougher than they look. Srappy things, they are). We latch the door. We take a deep breath. We stare at the bloody carcass and give our courage a pep talk while debating our next move.

Me: DO YOU HEAR THAT? What is that God-awful noise the chickens are making? Is there a raccoon still stuck IN the hen house?!?

This is going from bad to worse, quick-like.

John: Yes, there is definitely something up there. What the… IT’S ON THE ROOF! IT’S ON THE ROOF! (expletive, expletive)

What happened next would have been a lot more fun as a cartoon, but all I remember is John swinging the shovel above our heads, scraping it across the top of the hen house roof and – WHACK! PLOP! – down falls what looks like a giant fuzzy Pillow Pet on wheels if you squint your right eye and close your left eye and look past the beady eyes, sharp claws and rabies. (Have you ever seen a raccoon run? SO. DISTURBING.)

Have you ever seen my husband run? He is fast. Even while wielding a shovel in one hand and a flashlight in the other. And wearing flip flops.

Alas, the raccoon eludes us and now we have nothing to distract us from You Know What.

Please don’t make me say bloody carcass again.

The last chapter of this horror story is rather anti-climactic and one that probably shouldn’t be retold. Suffice it to say that the “Raccoon Survival Kit” was carefully disposed of and I have added yet another reason to the growing list of Why My Husband Rocks.

In conclusion, I am definitely going to tackle my to-do list tomorrow. Right after therapy.

P.S. Here’s a photo of our seven six chickens, sunbathing and contemplating their Happy Place.

P.P.S. It’s not good parenting to play favorites, so I’ll just casually mention in passing that only one chicken has an actual name. She is Goldie Hen. I’m not going to point her out, though. That wouldn’t be fair to the others.

read to be read at yeahwrite.me

64 thoughts on “a funny thing happened on the way to the chicken coop

  1. So sorry to hear about the chicken massacre. Can’t imagine the scene ( well, I can but am choosing to block it out of my mind). Keep us posted on the little cluckers!

  2. How on earth did I miss all the ruckus? It’s not like it’s not RIGHT OUTSIDE MY BEDROOM WINDOW!! Sorry you lost one of the hens, those raccoons are wily! Oh, and what’s this about Europe? Details please….

    • Thanks, Lynn! Don’t you love how our neighborhood has all the domesticated Not-Afraid-Of-Humans raccoon population on the island? Next thing you know we’ll find them smoking cigars, sipping scotch and wearing house coats and ascots.

      In other news, did we forget to mention that we’ll be in Europe May 24 – June 5 and were going to hit Austin up for cat-care and mail-duty? Yikes! Our bad. So, do you think Austin would be up for it? We pay handsomely!

      • Well, lucky you! Austin would love to help out. We will be gone Friday afternoon until Monday afternoon for our annual Memorial Day Port Townsend sports weekend, but if you’re ok with your Saturday mail staying in the box for 2 extra days..let us know…

  3. Ok, I love (most) animals but racoons are not one of them! They are mean, nasty, disease-carrying creatures. When I moved into the City limits they started coming around and I thought shooting them would be a good idea until I was told it’s not legal to fire a gun in the City – WTF?! It’s bad enough that I can’t shoot racoons but that must also include any annoying neighbors…
    Oh, come on, I wouldn’t shoot to kill them but rather send a bullet past their ear and they can consider that a free hearing test (and if that jump-starts their hearts that service is free also).
    I need to not be so timid with my opinions…come out of my shell and say what I really feel.
    xoxo Mom

  4. Pingback: have kid, will travel: resort edition. | just begin from here.

  5. LOL! The Great Chicken Massacre of 2012 at least resulted in a great post. So there’s that… ;-P

    Nature is magnificent, conservation worthy, etc., etc. but nature can also be seriously gross and disturbing. Whenever I see a cartoon racoon hanging out amongst the happy woodland creatures I’m like, “LIES! Racoons are like giant, dickish rats in disguise!”

    • Thank you so much, Dawn! We either laugh, or face the alternative, right?! 🙂 There’s a lot more to the story after this point … something tells me us city slickers were not meant to be chicken farmers!

  6. We considered getting chickens, but we have lots of animals around here, too. They’d be dinner in a heartbeat. Sorry about your chickens. Glad “Goldie Hen” Is OK!

    • We had no idea! It doesn’t help that our next door neighbor feeds them, too! Um, update on Goldie Hen: she has gone on to Poultry Heaven. Although thankfully, she went peacefully of natural causes.

    • OK, YOU WIN!! I had to go read your post. That field mouse IS CUH-UUTE! Good for you guys for doing well by him. I will have to post another time (after a fair amount of therapy) about the “field mouse” we had one time. Only replace “field mouse” with “sewer rat”. Thank you for your kind words!

  7. I had no idea racoons were carnivores. I always picture them as cute, cuddly and holding an apple to daintily eat.

    Now I know they are chicken eaters on bath salts. Yikes.

    Fun story!

  8. I know this shouldn’t have made me laugh and cringe and possibly even clutch my arms and scream all at the same time, but it totally did!! Great job!

  9. Oh, man… we just had a similar incident get all of our ducks and 3/4 of our new chickens. I blogged about it, too, but without all the funny you used. I’m glad you only lost one. Our body count was 8…

    • Oh no! I am so sorry!! Since that post we have lost 3 more (not that that is to make you feel better – just that I can relate!). Once was IN THE ACT and the poor soul was still alive and in so much pain. Thank God my husband was there to “do the hard job”. Oh man… What part of the country are you in?

      • I live in Iowa on about an acre of land out in the middle of a bunch of fields (corn this year, beans last). We’re not “real” farmers, but do have a 100’x80′ garden and our chickens (17 hens and a rooster). The ducks and chickens were new to our flock this year. I’m still finding feathers in the yard 😦

  10. Oh gosh. I’m so sad about the chicken, but thank you so much for Goldie Hen because now I’m at least smiling a little. Great story! (Well not great, but well-told. Poor chicken…)

  11. Oh honey, I feel your pain. I’m always going from eight to seven to six chickens and then I buy a couple and get the flock bolstered back up to eight. They have no survival skills, and stuff happens.

  12. This really could be a study in modern anthropology–Photoshop, slippers and flip-flops, a shovel, a chicken coup, PETA…great stuff and grateful you shared. I hope you are getting over your loss and the trauma. I know it is shocking to find dead animals. I’ve lost a guinea pig (or two). One ate its newborn babies. I read AFTERWARD, that, yes, they do this. Hmph.

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