This is the story of how two of our chickens have gone to a new home. You may not think that the story of transporting two chickens to a new place would be this long, but that can only lead me to believe that your chickens are well behaved and not insane.
Henrietta originally came to live with us along with her two babies. Her family needed a home for their chickens for the winter. One of the chicks only stayed with us for a few days. She was an inbred chicken, and was picked on constantly for being funny looking. The poor thing was half the size she should have been, had crooked toes and scabs on her face from being picked on so much. As you could expect, we called her scabby face. We tried to integrate her with our flock, but they just wouldn’t accept the weirdo. They showed her in their own chicken way that she was not welcome to join the flock by pecking at her every chance they got. My sweet little innocent angels had turned into blood thirsty monsters overnight. After finding Scabby Face in a corner of the coop by herself for two days, I gave in and gave her back to her family.
The other chick that came with Henrietta was Francesca, who turned out to be Frank. ‘She’ developed at super speed, quickly growing to be much larger than any of our birds and after ‘she’ started crowing, she too had to go.
Even without her two chicks, Henrietta acclimated herself quite nicely to our flock, and quickly became one of the girls. When winter ended and our friend was ready to take Henrietta back, we decided it would be best to send her with another hen so she wouldn’t get lonely.
I texted our friend the day of the delivery, and asked her if she’d rather have Taco- a bird that makes ridiculous un-chicken-like sounds, but is easy to catch, or Big Carl- who makes no sounds at all, but is almost impossible to capture. When I couldn’t get a hold of her and was running late to her house, I decided I’d just make an executive decision and bring her Taco, since she planned to let them free-range and it would be easier to have a cooperative creature.
When I went to collect the birds to take them to their new home, Henrietta took kindly to her carrier without much complaint. She lay right down and didn’t make a peep. Taco, on the other hand, was not going to be taken without a fight. I scrambled throughout the run, fishing through 11 hens and 7 chicks trying to catch the maniac, all the while ducking down because half of our run is only 4 feet tall, and getting my hair tangled in chicken wire more times than I’d like to admit. Our neighbors must have endless entertainment watching us run after chickens.
I finally caught the little scamp and managed to close her up in the box. I carried her inside while I finished getting things together then took her to the car. She was frantic, every ten seconds she would pop her little head out of one of the box handles and stare at me while grumbling and yelling, then scoot to the other handle and do the same.
Just as I was about to pull out of the driveway with both birds, I heard back from our friend. She wanted Big Carl.
So, Taco went back to join her sisters, making a horrible racket the whole time. Now I had to wrangle up Big Carl and get her in the box.
I chased her throughout the run for a solid five minutes, she was always just out of reach, ducking under roosts and hurdling past slower chickens. When she was finally caught, I took her through the run door and put her down in the box. In the time it took my hands to get from her body to the top of the box, she had bolted from inside and was charging towards the back fence.
Throwing up my hands in exasperation, I took off after her. Stalking her carefully and quietly, I kept whispering, ‘Come on Big Carl, it’s okay, I’m not going to put you in the box again, I just want to talk to you…’ She wasn’t having any of it. Some say chickens are stupid, sometimes I’m not so sure. She would pretend to stand around pecking at the soil, then when I was seconds from reaching her, she would let out an obnoxious ‘BA-GAWK!’ and take off running again.
Meanwhile, the rest of the flock escaped through the door I’d left open during the chase, and were now frolicking throughout the yard. For anyone who’s tried to wrangle even one chicken that doesn’t want to go back inside, you know how deeply frustrating it can get. Now try to imagine doing this 18 times over. After half an hour of their silly chicken antics and escape tactics, I finally managed to get all the little darlings back into the coop, and Big Carl into the box and on her way to her new home.
I wasn’t entirely sad to see Big Carl go after she gave me the run around for the hundredth time, but I must say will miss seeing her fluffy butt in our yard. Her ridiculous personality added a lot to our cast of characters. Now she’s taken her big personality to a new farm to charm a new family.
Happy Trails to Big Carl and Henrietta, and to you as well!