Jurassic Park

Back when my chickens were babies (way, way back, in ye olden times, like six months ago), some of you may remember that I posted some comparative photos of them when they started going through their awkward phase.  You chicken owners will know what I mean: that moment when they go from cute little balls of fluff to WHAT THE–!?  That moment looked a little something like this:

So very awkward.

And then I went a little further with my comparisons and did this:

I seemed to be the only one worried about how this might all work out.

Little did I know what I was inadvertently foreshadowing….

Now, I know that my posts about my chickens are usually a bunch of love and sunshine and butterflies….but we had a little moment yesterday.

Some typical chicken sunshine.

I’ll get to the moment in a moment, but speaking of butterflies, it was a little disappointing when I realized, very early on, that my chickens LOVE to chase butterflies.  And catch them.  And murder them.  I get it, circle of life and all, but I’m still the crazy lady standing in the yard plaintively screaming as the birds dart around the yard in pursuit of the little pretties (that I, incidentally, lure to the yard of death with my deliberate butterfly-tempting plant selections.  My bad.)  I don’t like it.  I don’t like it one bit.

Imagine, then, if you will, my chagrin when I found the world’s biggest, greenest, cutest grasshopper in my garden, and was squatting over it, inspecting it, cooing at it something like, “Hey!  Hey there, buddy!  What’re you doing here, huh, buddy?”  And Clementine swooped in and gobbled that thing one foot in front of my face–despite it being HALF HER SIZE at the time–and then smirked at me like I helped by distracting it.

I accepted this all, begrudgingly, as part of the package.  Chickens are omnivorous, they eat bugs….they love to eat bugs, of all shapes and sizes.  Got it.  Moving on.  So I definitely was not prepared the day that I caught Eloise stalking a lizard in the yard.  I scooped her up, reprimanded her, and waited until the lizard had found a hiding place to set her back down.  I believed that I had diffused the situation until the lizard made its fatal mistake and bolted.  That bird was off like lightening (again, to the soundtrack of my screaming), zigging and zagging down the path and she caught that thing and flung it around like the T-rex in Jurassic Park when it busted into the herd of galloping Gallimimuses.  She beat it about a bit and then sucked it down like no one’s business.  The birds had officially graduated from consuming invertebrates, to vertebrates.  Highly unsettling.

A vicious, calculating predator.

This brings us to the moment.  As I mentioned in an earlier post, we’ve had a bout of rain this week.  Under normal circumstances, with our sunny, easy-going SoCal weather, I let the girls out of their coop in the morning, close the coop, and do not re-open it until I let them back in at sundown.  The reason for this is simple; rodents let themselves into the coop if I leave it open, foraging for food scraps and just making a general mess of things.  I think you all probably see exactly where this is headed.  When it is rainy and cold (which hasn’t happened much since we’ve had the birds), I leave the coop open for them so that they have a warm, dry place to escape to if the rain really starts to come down.  So, yep.  The coop was left open yesterday.  To make an already too-long story shorter, let me just skip the suspense and say, yes, as a matter of fact, there was a mouse in the coop when I went to lock the girls up for the evening.  There was a tiny little instant when I saw it, and time froze and it was like that scene in Jurassic Park when they are baiting the T-rex by raising a goat up on a platform and the girl goes, “What’s gonna happen to the goat?!”

And yes, those birds went after that mouse, and it was a massacre.  A massacre, people.  I had to turn the hose on them (I know, I know–who dives in to save a mouse?  At least I am fully aware of the crazy).  I could hear the mouse screaming over the top of my own screaming.  I couldn’t handle it.  The hose succeeded, and they dropped the poor thing, and it ran off into the bushes, but those little bloodthirsties crashed through the bushes after it and got it again.  So again, I turned the hose on them, and again they dropped it and finally came slinking back into the coop (because I really soaked them this time).  I do not know what became of the mouse.  I am never speaking of this incident again.

Okay, one last comment.  In the afor-mentioned Jurassic Park scene where Dr. Grant and the kids are watching the galloping Gallimimuses (which incidentally gallop exactly like my chickens), and the T-rex nabs and devours one, Dr. Grant says to the kids, “Look how it eats!…Bet you never look at birds the same way again!”  Amen, Dr. Grant, amen.

Oh, chickens.

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15 thoughts on “Jurassic Park

  1. Kathie October 14, 2012 at 6:40 pm Reply

    This was the best story ever, yes the appropriate soundtrack played in my head. I was one step away from getting popcorn!! Now replay the whole screen with Naked Neck chicken instead to up the fear factor!!!

    • farmhouseK8 October 14, 2012 at 6:43 pm Reply

      Hahahah! Love it!

  2. Tammy October 14, 2012 at 7:25 pm Reply

    What a fabulous post! Probably because I can totally relate…I’ve heard the sad shrieks of a mouse as I watched my sweet, innocent chickens literally pull it apart. That was so hard to see! I couldn’t do anything about it though, it was over before I knew it. Vicious predators, they are! I’ve also seen them eat lizards and swallow frogs. So crazy.

  3. shutthebarndoor October 14, 2012 at 7:35 pm Reply

    This was so freakin’ funny… this would SO be me…oh, and my dad swears that chickens are present-day dinosaurs, lol.

    • farmhouseK8 October 14, 2012 at 8:46 pm Reply

      I totally agree! When those chickens come running in pack-formation full-tilt up the driveway to me–I’m telling you EVERY time, I have a moment where my instincts tell me to turn and run. Then they are all fluffy and clucky and I am immediately repentant. 🙂

  4. Karen October 14, 2012 at 10:44 pm Reply

    I’ve got nothing to add. I so enjoyed your story and can relate.

  5. Charlotte Zweigoronc October 14, 2012 at 11:54 pm Reply

    Hmmm…. I seem to be the only one here who figures that the chickens are doing what chickens are supposed to do!! No more turning the hose on these poor girls! Great story but it would never pass muster with my mom or her family who were real live farmers with chickens and pigs and cows as well as field crops. However, I must repeat… great story! Did anyone ever tell you that you are such a girl? And I mean that in the nicest way!

    • farmhouseK8 October 15, 2012 at 2:03 am Reply

      Hahahah–I know, I am such a disgrace–believe me, I don’t like the rodents, and I suppose it’s good that the chicks are exterminating for me, but oy!, I couldn’t take watching it happen!

  6. Deb Flynn October 15, 2012 at 1:09 am Reply

    What a joy of a story to read. In fact, had to read it aloud to someone cuz it is just so cute. Thanks for sharing. Having chickens myself I can totally sympathize. (And chuckle to myself)

    • farmhouseK8 October 15, 2012 at 2:05 am Reply

      Haha! Thanks! These chickens really keep me on my toes.

  7. Becky October 15, 2012 at 3:43 am Reply

    Well written, funny and true!

  8. Robin December 5, 2012 at 3:15 am Reply

    Great post! I don’t get to spend much time with my chickens so I miss most of the “food chain incidents.” But I am pretty sure my chickens aren’t mousers. (Doesn’t surprise me a bit. As chickens, they are totally dysfunctional.) I think though that my mice have been to Nimh and know to go into the coop only at night when my flock of dinosaurlettes are brain dead.

    • farmhouseK8 December 5, 2012 at 3:44 am Reply

      Hahaha–awesome!! I’m still traumatized by it….then today, all four chickens were brawling with a squirrel over leftover Halloween pumpkins….the dogs finally chased the squirrel away but the whole scene was just bananas! BANANAS!!

  9. yrppies March 30, 2015 at 12:39 am Reply

    I know it is creepy that I am stalking your blog posts on chickens from three years ago, but this was hilarious. We just got some chicks and ducks so I am reviewing all your posts chicken related for inspiration and knowledge.

    • farmhouseK8 March 30, 2015 at 4:18 pm Reply

      OMG, you’re too funny! You know what? That is one of my all-time favorite posts–and I was just thinking I was going to re-post it. Hey, congrats on the chucks (chickens and ducks, lol)!!! How fun!!! Good luck with it all!

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