Sunday, January 31, 2010

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

I have a bird in my bath tub.

Gloria Steinem, one of our more attitudinous Delaware hens, has a serious case of the runs. This can be dangerous when it's below freezing outside. So, she's been camping out in the chicken sick-bay since yesterday. Here's hoping she can go outside tomorrow.

So, the other five chickens are still outside. It's been pretty cold the past couple of days.

(Side story: I was headed to the parking lot after work on Friday and I saw these two dudes taking pictures of buildings downtown. They looked like tourists, not terr'rists, so I asked them where they were from. They said Austria. I immediately thought that they must be so disappointed that they came to Dallas and the South in the middle of a cold snap (it was snowing). One of the men said, "We are going to Las Vegas. There will be warm sand there." I didn't have the heart to tell him that it might be just as cold there as it is in Dallas. Poor dudes.)

Anyway, I feed the chickens in the morning and give them fresh water. I had to bundle up to make the trek outside this morning. I had my hat pulled down tight, my fingers warm in my mittens, and my scarf tucked into my pea coat. I was mostly focused on not freezing my arse off.

So I opened the coop, and a few of the girls hopped out and ran out of the run. On the weekends I normally dump a few cups of chicken scratch on the ground, since they like to forage more than they like to peck at lay pellets.

Just as soon as I dumped the scratch and Effa Manley came running, out from over the roof of our house comes this huge effing bird. At first it didn't seem that big, but that was because it was far away. As it approached, and seemingly aimed for one of my girls, I could tell that it's wingspan was between 8 and 10 feet. It was either a really big hawk or it was an immature eagle.

Whatever it was, it was hoping for a chicken dinner.

Effa managed to escape unharmed, but as the bird beat its wings while trying to take off from the backyard, all manner of leaves and dust went flying. In the confusion, I panicked and I screamed, "HOLY FUCKING SHIT!"

Gradually, the chickens came out from their hiding spots, and the eagle did return later to survey the yard (the hens were safe by then).

We'll probably put up some kind of net over the yard to keep this from happening again, but boy was it exciting to see something that big and dangerous that close.

In other news, I finished a hat.