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