My new coop and run arrived nearly too late last week. I am ecstatic. The last hen came out of hiding only an hour earlier and I barely saved her from death by dog mauling although not from dog slobber. Basically, the story is that my 12 year old watched the oldest hen fall down into the window well from inside the house. He came and told me and I briefly saw more chicken carnage in my minds eye. Knee jerk reaction was to ask my 17 year old daughter to go look. Better parental sense kicked in and I ran outside. Of course, all the children followed me.
The dog was in her run. That one is mysterious because none of us put her there. It is my best guess that a passing neighbor heard a commotion, knew Sunday's name and temperament (she's a ferociously friendly yellow lab), called her into her pen and left. Thank you, Samaritan.
So the chickens had gotten out of their run. I had an old abandoned scout project coop and a small dog run acting as the chicken enclosure. The oldest hen survived her second dog attack. The little red hen was still in the coop. The Americahna was in another window well. The most friendly chicken was missing in action. No amount of hunting could turn her up.
I started in my neighbor's garbage cans (after checking my own yard for the carcass). Nothing. Walked around the block even though the yard is fenced in. Word trickled to me that a neighbor girl, age 7, saw the chicken on the other side of the neighborhood crossing the road. 45 minutes on my bike, asking bemused neighbors and strangers, "Have you seen a chicken?" I had an epiphany. I have a 7 year old. 7 year olds are fun little people with beautiful imaginations and questionable recall. Why would a chicken cross the road? In real life, she probably wouldn't. I could imagine the helpful little girl seeing a robin or perhaps a magpie and thinking nothing of it. In retrospect, when asked, that bird grows larger, plumpens up, and becomes a chicken. I went home and announced the chicken was gone. But secretly I held onto the adage that they come home to roost.
Five hours later I heard a frantic cheeping outside my bedroom window, grabbed my shoes, and saved the last chicken from the dog. Greatly traumatized and covered in dog slobber, I returned her to her sisters. An hour later, my coop and run arrived.
I sold the old coop in the classifieds. I also sold a dog training kennel that I used as a run when the chicks were small. When my husband heard how much I got for the coop ($60), he looked at me like I was a criminal. "For that piece of crap?" he asked.
"Have you looked at the cost of coops, lately?" I asked.
"How much did you pay for the coop and run we have now? $150 or something like that?"
"Sure," I answered.
It was $300. And worth every penny.
"Maybe you should stay off the classifieds. They generally end up with a big project," he commented.
"Sure," I answered. I am so compliant.
A couple of days later I found a roll top desk for the price of the coop I sold.
Okay. Not so compliant.