A few months back, I got some Polish chickens from the feed store. Polish are a breed with a so-called ‘top hat’, which is just a big ball of feathers atop their little heads, which pretty much make the chicken look like a creature with a chicken body with a lollipop stick head and neck. Really, it looks very similar to a Dr. Seuss Truffula Tree, stuck on a bird’s body. That’s a bit more accurate. Anyway, due to the large ball of feathers on their head, their vision tend to be partially, if not almost fully, occluded. Enter Wayward.
Wayward Jones is a White Crested Black Polish. This means she is primarily a black chicken with a white poof on top of her head. I knew Wayward was ‘special’ pretty much from the start. During their first outdoor excursions, Wayward would always end up where the other chickens WEREN’T, crying desperately for someone to come and find her. When I did go to retrieve her, she was usually so happy to see someone, she would run and jump into my hands and up my arm.
One morning as we were leaving, we were almost out the gate when we saw a certain chicken over in the orchard who came running to the truck. Mind you, the others were on the complete opposite side of the house, and this is really a pretty good clip away. I’m not good with distance, but let’s just say it was a ways away! Again, she was so happy, she ran to me and I deposited her with the other chicks.
This scenario has repeated itself dozens of times over the last several weeks. One day, I found Wayward in a shrub at dusk, so lost she just gave up calling and roosted. The other day, I found her roosting on the back of a plastic toy dump truck. The last straw was last Saturday when I was hanging our laundry to dry on our deck. I saw a bird WAAAAAAAY down the hill behind our house, almost to the creek, and believe me, it’s a long way for a little chicken to go. I looked at it for a minute, thinking it looked an awful lot like a guinea (which I do not have anymore, they are in the freezer now), before realizing who it was. My shoulders slumped and I shook my head. I thought to myself: One day, I’m going to get a collect call from Mexico, they’re going to connect me, and there will be nothing but clucking on the other end, and I’m gonna know EXACTLY who it is. I can foresee the conversation….
Me: Sure, I’ll accept a collect call.
WJ: Booooooock??? Bock, Bock?
Me: Wayward? Is it you? You’ve been gone for weeks!
WJ: BOCK! Booock, bock, bock, bock
Me: Well, I’m glad you’re OK, but what are you doing in Mexico?
WJ: Bock, bock, bock, booock, bock.
Me: You got arrested for WHAT? Where does a chicken hide drugs?
WJ: Bock, boooock, bock, bock, booock
Me: (irritated) OK, look, I don’t want to know any more about it. We’re not telling Jason, and we’re never speaking of this again. I’ll pick you up in a week.
So, I flagged down Jason, who was blowing off the driveway. I said, “Come look at THIS.” He said, “Ok, where’s Wayward?” Does that give you ANY idea how routine this is? I could have been asking him to come look at anything on earth, but he knew it was Wayward, right off the bat.
So, I went and retrieved Wayward yet again, but this time I had a plan. I took a hairband and made her a ponytail (chickentail?) out of her head feathers. She went into a slight stage of shock, then surprise. She ran around in circles, so excited she could finally see something other than the backside of those feathers. This is the story of Wayward Jones the Polish chicken.