I’m not exactly sure when I became the Crazy Chicken Lady. Probably about the same time that I began to decipher the chicken language. I could tell what a chicken was doing just by the sound it made. Found a bug? Excited peeping noise. Rooster found a bug? Excited clucking to get the ladies to come around. Frantic peeps? Obviously a lost chick looking for mama. Growling sound? Chicken unsure of what’s going on. The list goes on.
But I knew I’d really lost it when I started getting telepathic chicken messages. Allow me to explain….
Last year, we had a little bout of Arctic air blow through in late November. The winds whipped at the pines mercilessly, and temps dropped rapidly when the sun disappeared. As the night wore on, the lights flickered on and off frequently.
I had hatched out a late batch of chicks a few days prior. Not really the best idea to hatch out anything so vulnerable that late in the year, but that’s what happened.
About 3am, after a very fitful attempt at sleep, my eyes flew open. Our ceiling fan wasn’t moving. It was pitch black. There was something…something…something pecking at my brain. My mothering instinct was on overdrive, but it wasn’t something with the kids….I was forgetting something….what is it, what IS it……..OH MY GOD, THE BABY CHICKS! No electricity meant no heat lamp, which meant no heat for 14 tiny 2 day old chicks in a barn. I jumped out of the bed and ran to our barn, fully expecting to find 14 frozen bite-sized chicken nuggets in the brooder. Miraculously, they were piled in a fuzzy little heap, all very much alive although pretty disgruntled. I gathered them all into a plastic tote and hauled them into the house by our woodstove. Putting a towel on my lap, I took the 14 little fuzzies and wrapped them up until I felt that they wouldn’t keel over from hypothermia and then put them back into the bin. Listening to 14 peeping chicks for the remainder of the night wasn’t exactly what I’d describe as peaceful. Fortunately, the wind ended with daybreak and electricity was turned back on. No baby chicks were lost.
Was it just my mothering instinct? Or did the chicks send out a “Hey moron, we’re freezing out here” psychic message? Another example:
It was almost midnight, and I was in bed about to fall asleep. Suddenly, I heard a tiny, muffled sound of a rooster crowing, or at least I thought I did. Not any rooster, but Ernie specifically (trust me, once you’ve been around chickens long enough, you can distinguish their voices). How odd, I thought. Ernie never, ever crows at night….
THE DOOR! I forgot to shut the stupid coop door! I ran out to the coop as fast as a half-asleep person can and sure enough, the coop door was still very much wide-open with my very favorite hen sitting completely unprotected in front of it. Naturally. Did Ernie really crow? He’s certainly not revealing anything. Or am I slowly turning into a chicken myself?
One thing that is sure to get my attention is the sound of a baby chick in trouble. They tend to make an extremely annoying, loud pitched ‘PEEEEEP PEEP PEEEEEP’ to try and solicit some sympathy from Mama Hen. One day, right at dusk, I kept hearing a noise. A very familiar and annoying noise.
“Do you hear that?” I asked Jason.
“Yeah, just a bird,” he said, as he went back to reading.
I sat and listened for a few more seconds. My chicken senses were awakening.
“No. No it’s not, either,” I said.
I walked out to the front yard to find (surprise, surprise) a newly hatched 1 day old baby chicken who was very much lost and twice as confused. How it ended up all the way from the coop to the front yard, I’ll never really know. Regardless, “Big Mama Hen” came to the rescue that day. I swear, they seek me out, they really do. Oh well.
There’s probably not much need for a chicken psychic. Then again, maybe I could start the Psychic Chicken Network Hotline for chicken owners. (“Mrs. Jones, the reason Doris is acting so depressed is that she’s really wanting some vegetable scraps. Wait, hold on….can you hold Doris up to the phone again, please? Mmmhmmm….She is also telling me that you’re buying the cheap pellets again. Is that true, Mrs. Jones?”)
Until next time, keep on cluckin’.