Thursday, October 04, 2007

Funny thing happened on the way to the shelter

Our neighbors last spring decided that raising chickens would be a good home schooling project. They got eggs, kept them warm, held the chicks, and finally put them in a coop in the backyard where they made my dogs insane. I considered reporting them (the neighbors), as I believe it is against town regulations to have chickens, but I didn't after they told me they were looking for a home in the country and would be taking their chickens away.

They did move, but they left one chicken behind.

It has been wandering around the neighborhood, mostly living in a big evergreen bush on my yard and making the dogs REALLY insane. Today though Brian caught it. He called me at work and asked me what to do. I gave him the number for animal control and they told him that they would not come and get it, but if an adult brought it in they would take it. Brian said they didn't actually say they would euthanize it, but that he thought they would. I agreed.

Wanting to get it all over with, for Brian's sake of course, I rushed home and got the dog crate. Brian was sitting in the shade with the chicken looking glum. He put the chicken in the crate and said, "Did you know that chickens purr? If you scratch it behind the head it makes a purring noise." We talked about it and he understood that we had few options: the chicken would freeze to death or be eaten by a dog if it just wandered around. So we drove to the shelter.

But because of some construction I took the back roads. Though I have driven this road any number of times, I suddenly saw something I had not noticed before: a house with a yard with a dozen or more chickens! Quickly, I pulled in the driveway. After some calling out "hello!" a friendly Mexican American woman came out, listened to me for a minute and then turned and yelled, "CARLOS!" Three children came running from the field, one of whom was Carlos.

We told Carlos our story, and that we were on our way to the animal shelter when we saw all their chickens and wondered if they wanted another. He translated and then asked us if we were selling it. I said no, that in fact I thought the shelter would charge me for euthanizing (killing) it, so I was giving it away. He asked me if it laid eggs. Brian assured him that it did. So the mom shrugged, we got the chicken, and Brian told Carlos how it had been a home schooling project and was very gentle and would purr if you scratched it behind the head. Carlos removed the chicken very gently and it walked off to join all the other hens.

So it was a good afternoon for all concerned. The chicken was saved from certain doom and is now living on a farm in the country. A nice farming family has a story to tell about a couple of crazy gringos. And Brian requests that we eat something vegetarian for dinner tonight.


  1. Thank you for this slightly weird but definitely nice chicken store.
    Maybe you could start your own franchise of books like that chicken soup for the soul only you'd just be chickens for the soul, or something like that.


    My cockatoo, Chicken, says she is quite proud of your decision.

    She, however, says she would like to have eggs with her supper.

  3. I love this chicken story. I have to write a chicken post now too. Stay tuned.

  4. Last year, kindergarten raised chicks from eggs, in the name of science,of course. When it was time for the chickens to be farmed out, we took two, since we had two children in kindergarten! Sucker born every minute. It soon became obvious that one was to be a rooster, as he tried and tried to crow. We are allowed to have chickens in our yard, but not roosters. I finally talked my daughter into trying to see if the Strawberry farm down the street, county not city limits- would adopt Lucky the rooster. We encountered a very similar scene as we drove in- although i believe the family was Laotian, not Latino. They were happy to receive a free rooster!

    Our good friends who farm rice were happy to receive Blackshe, the other chick, after our newest dog tried to eat her one to many times!

    Whoo, that was long! sorry.

  5. What a nice story, all awww and warm and fuzzy. Scratch one up for the chickens.

  6. That chicken is a lucky duck! :)

  7. Alas, if the homeschooling experiment was to encourage compassion towards animals, it seems to have worked (on Brian at least) :)


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