Raise your hand if you’re a city girl….I know that you can’t see me, but I am waving like anything because I am a city girl, too.
As of today, though, I fall into a whole different classification: I am a city-girl/chicken wrangler.
It happened like this: A few days ago, a neighbor up the street, Ms. N., asked me to mind her chickens while she went away overnight this weekend. I’ve minded them before, easily, so I didn’t hesitate to say yes. I popped over there last night to get a quick refresher of where everything I would need for their care is kept, and to meet the new girls. The previous bunch I cared for were a bit more mature than the current lot. However, the new group were very well-behaved yesterday, and even let me snap a couple of photos.
Like the last time, this was going to be a piece of cake. HA!!
Ms. N. lives next door to my mother, so I dropped in to visit mom before I went to check the girls. Then, as I was walking over through the back-to-back vegetable gardens, currant bushes, and low-hanging heavily laden pear trees, I could hear one of them squawking to beat the band. What on earth was the matter over there?!
When I came to a spot with a clear view of the chicken pen, I saw what the matter was. One of the girls had somehow escaped and was running back and forth trying to get back in with her BFFs. Oh, no!! Ms. N. had not instructed me about what to do with a chicken on the run!! I was on my own and had to think fast.
I went over to open the gate and let the escapee back in, but all the good little hens on the inside immediately scurried over to where I stood. I shooed them away to the other side of the pen and went to the gate again. Back they came. We played this game a couple more times then stopped. It wouldn’t do to let four more out trying to get one back in. Nix that idea.
I was supposed to pick some borage for them to eat today, so I decided to throw it to the other side of the pen hoping they would be kept busy long enough for me to get the gate open and put the inmate, as I had come to think of her, back inside the fence.
It worked!! Now for the wrangling part. Inmate #92255 was behind a small low-branched tree next to the pen and a little ways from the gate. I would open the gate, praying the others wouldn’t notice, and shoo her from behind the tree and in through the gate. That was the plan, anyway. I stealthily sidled over and slowly opened the gate. So far, so good. The others were busy with borage.
Quickly, I went around the front of the tree to herd #92255 around the back of the tree, around and in through the gate. She went around the tree as planned, but went I came back in front of the tree to coax her the final few steps in, she did an about-face and we were back where we started. Back and forth we went until we were both breathless and sweaty (if chickens sweat). There wasn’t enough room for me to get behind the tree with her because of the plantings all around the base. I’d have to keep trying to shoo her out; it was the only way. I picked up a long, fallen branch and decided it would make a good chicken “prod”. Hopefully, it would do the trick.
#92255 was standing stock still behind the tree, mouth open, panting heavily. The gate was open. The others were still gobbling borage, but it wouldn’t be long before they’d notice their path to freedom was clear. It was now or never.
Nonchalantly, I walked around the tree, giving it a wide berth and gently swinging the branch back and forth. #92255 didn’t move a muscle but her beady eyes followed me. And the branch. When I felt I had gone far enough around, I began to walk towards the backside of the tree while flailing the branch. At once she bolted. As she headed towards the open gate I prayed she would have sense enough to go around it and into the pen. I stopped in my tracks and watched as she did exactly that! I ran to the gate, slammed it shut, and latched it.
Breathing hard, I glanced over to far side of the pen. There she was, #92255, clucking and squawking and raising a ruckus. Flapping her wings and chasing the others away so she might eat her fill of the left-over borage. She didn’t pay me a blind bit of notice. As far as she was concerned, the whole incident might never have happened. But it did. And I won! Yippee!!!
Final score: City-girl/Chicken Wrangler – 1, #92255 – 0.
Exhaustified, I came home, poured myself a cup of coffee and collapsed into a chair thinking, “Oh, no! I have to go back again tomorrow!!”
But, I refuse to think about it now. I’ll think about it tomorrow. After all, it’s another day tomorrow. (I was going to say “tomorrow is another day”, but that line is already taken!)
Ms. Scarlett, Chicken Wrangler