Monday, June 16, 2008

The Case of the Missing Chicken

The day started out like any other day. Any other day that was incredibly busy and included things like my husband going to Urgency Care for a nail stuck in his foot, my family coming over for a family birthday party, and getting ready for Father's Day. We had worked hard in the backyard getting ready for the family barbeque and the yard looked great. So picturesque with the green grass and the three chickens grazing amongst the flowerbeds. You see, we have pet chickens. Three of them (and three baby chicks that are in a box in the garage currently). We call them "pets with a purpose," the purpose being fresh eggs. We love our chickens (and their eggs) and treat them truly as pets. They are spoiled rotten and we dote on them. We have lost several over the years to raccoons and are very protective of the ones who are left. They are only allowed out during the day and are locked up tight at night.

We had let them out this day because the cousins who were coming over enjoy the whole "farm feel" of Auntie Jill's house. I say farm feel because we live in a suburban neighborhood and have a larger than average yard, but not a farm by a long shot! But we have chickens, bunnies, a little red barn chicken coop, grapes, blueberries, raspberries, gardens like crazy, and it feels like a farm to someone who doesn't have that.

The cousins had fun playing in the backyard and the weather was beautiful for the barbeque. At the end of the day I was going to show my sister (who lives far away and doesn't see my yard often) all my pets. But we couldn't find Jellybean, my black Austrolorpe chicken. We searched everywhere - the bushes, the coop, the green space behind our house, everywhere we could think of, but she was gone. When dusk came and the other two chickens went back to the coop for the night, she still wasn't there. She just . . . . vanished! (cue scary music!)

We went to sleep thinking the worst, she had been grabbed by a raccoon or a hawk and we had seen the last of her. But the detective in me wouldn't give it up; how could she have disappeared in a yard full of kids with adults watching from the deck? Wouldn't we have heard or seen something? It bugged me and when I woke up this morning it still bugged me! I wanted to go search the yard again but I had a Father's Day breakfast to make, kids to get ready for church, things to do!

After church, and after the Father's Day dinner (we go all out on holidays here), I went to take my baby chicks to the backyard for some "sunshine time." While they frolicked and pecked and flapped, I watered my garden and did some tidying up. When I came to the hay storage area I noticed the lid of one of the boxes had gotten knocked part-way off, when I lifted it to straighten it - out flew Jellybean! She had somehow gotten herself trapped under the lid and couldn't get out. She was very thirsty, very hungry and is walking with a limp right now, but otherwise seems ok. It is still a mystery - how did she get under there? Why didn't she make noise? Did she and we didn't hear her because of the kids? Whatever the case, I'm glad she's back and the mystery is solved!


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