Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Passing of an Era

I'm aware that yesterday's post sucked. You don't need to point this out. That's just one of the side effects of NaBloPoMo. Sometimes you just have to shove out a post that's as stupid at the event's nickname.

It would seem that the last of my purebred araucana chickens is dead. Long live the last of my purebred araucana chickens. I have no hard evidence of this, of course. Unlike the normal poultry-based loss at my house, there was no stiffened corpse or ripped-apart carcass for me to find when I went out to feed the birds one afternoon. I just haven't seen the little black hen with the ear tufts and no tail for more than a week now. I'm assuming that this means that one of the neighborhood foxes (we have both reds and grays in the area) or a large owl or hawk swooped in and carried her away.

The weird thing is that there weren't even any feathers or a sign of a struggle in my back yard. If I were a TV police detective, this would suggest to me that the killer was someone the hen knew and trusted. I really doubt this hen was stupid enough to trust a fox. The more likely answer is that chickens tend to be pretty damn deep sleepers and whatever took her just plucked her from her perch and trotted or flew away. I guess the ducks could have been involved as they once shared a back yard and would have been familiar and known for peaceful behavior, but the ducks are too fat to fly over the fence now and they lack the appendages to open the gate. They don't even have thumbs. How are they going to work the latch? We're not talking archeopteryx here.

For those not good with paleontology humor, archeopteryx was one of the first animals considered a bird or at least a link between dinosaurs and birds. They still had gripping claws on their wings. Perhaps they could have opened the latch on the gate, but they don't exist anymore. Being extinct kind of rules you out in a murder mystery. Of course the hoatzin still exists and also has claws on its wings, but its claws are pretty pathetic. I'm pretty sure it'd be unable to work the latch even if I did live in the Amazon basin. Also, ducks are neither archeopteryx or hoatzin, which was my original point.

Either way, this kind of sucks because I spent over a hundred bucks a couple of years ago to buy the small flock of purebred araucanas I had for a while. Unfortunately, they brought with them a respiratory infection that wiped out most of my other birds and over the past two years I've had most of them gradually just die (like chickens are want to do) or be killed by wild and domesticated animals.

Honestly, I'm kind of over the whole chicken thing. It's a pain in the ass to keep them fed and watered when I'm away, and I tend to be away when I don't have to work. Luckily, I'm pretty much down to the the pullets and cockerels that the little black hen hatched back in the summer and these buggers are fairly wild. I can't get close to them and they fly over the backyard fence at will and have managed to survive several visits by my parents' dogs, who gladly kill chickens when they can catch them. Considering the fact that the ducks turned out to be safer when I let them roam free than when I put them up for the night (we lost half of them in the span of a week when I penned them up at night and haven't lost one since I stopped bothering), and the last of the chickens are half wild, I'm thinking I'm just going to let them be. If something gets them, well, it's just a chicken and these were free. If they live out four or five years before they finally kick the bucket, well, then they deserved it.

And If I die of some mutated strain of bird flu that finally managed to make the jump from birds to humans effectively and lethally, then I'll just chalk that up to irony. If I want to consider myself a writer, I have to be willing to die for irony.


Julie said...

One of my cousins has recently gotten into chickens. She got them as eggs and hatched them in an incubator and then built them a coop in the backyard. She also goes to all the chicken meetings now in an effort to make it legal for people to own chickens as pets and exempt out of that livestock rule in the city.

It seems to be quite a bit of work.

courtney said...

Sorry for your loss. Poor chicken.

I thought chicken farming was your dream. It's documented in our student newspaper. Why would you give up on your dream?

Sid said...

I love that you're willing to die for irony. That my firend is dedication.

Chris said...

Thank you for the excellent aside to explain your paleontology humor.