Tag Archives: chicken coop

Henny Chicken’s Escort Service:  A Story with a Moral

Henny Chicken left her job after working nineteen years for KFC corporate.  She had thought of leaving many times, but each time she was about to pull the plug, she moved up the pecking order, and edged a little closer to the proverbial wire ceiling.  It was different this time though!  She had endured her tail feathers being stroked for the last time, and hush promotions to ease her squawking no longer mattered.  Just once, she would like to move up the corporate ladder for what happened from the neck up, rather than the neck down.  The paper promotions resulted in slight improvement, but in some ways set her up for even more harassment.  The bosses looked at her as willing to do whatever to get a promotion, and the rest of the employees looked at her as a chicken lipped Jezebel sleeping her way to the top.  She loved her job, and did not want to leave, but what else could a hen do?  Being treated and thought of as less than a chicken stuck in her craw, and made her miserable.  All she wanted was to work and live in a place where a chick could cross the road and not have her motives or gender questioned.

The cutesy office breast and leg jokes grew old even if breasts were the foundation for the company and her pension.  She simply could not take being considered a piece of meat any longer.   Scratching out a living for chicken feed instead of living off her fluffy corporate paycheck would be difficult, but for a new life, she knew she was up to the challenge.  Besides, she couldn’t wait to see the company struggle without her; after all, the rooster may crow but the hen delivers the goods.  KFC would be a chicken with its head cut off without her.  So, Henny built up her nest egg, and flew the coop to set out on her own.

The first morning after leaving her job was the best.  She slept until noon, dressed like a stinking sloppy crow, and relaxed all day on her balcony.  Wrapped in the warmth of sunshine and her new life, she couldn’t believe how free and renewed she felt.  It was an incredible feeling!  No roosters interested more in what was under her feathers than what was between her ears; no obligatory seductive cackles to massage rooster egos; and no constant greasing the skillet to keep peace!  The only time her tail feathers were ruffled was when she scratched.  What more could she ask for; her new life was simply heaven.

Unfortunately, outside her modest coop, the same was not true.  To her surprise, the outside world was more twisted than the corporate world.  She could not walk past a street corner without hearing a breast, thigh, or leg joke.  Unlike the office, on the street there was no pretentious cutesiness, it was strictly hard core, and there was no promotion if she was offended, which of course she was.  At least the roosters at work engaged in a certain amount of quality control, and treated her to her beak like a real chicken.  All the cock-a-doodle-doos she met now were interested in was tenderness, juiciness, and flavor as if she was a USDA commodity.   Bottom line, they were only interested in the amount of usable lean meat on her carcass.  The cool cat raccoons and possums were the worst of the lot.

Her social life also suffered.  Engaging in hen parties with friends from her old job was not fun anymore since she was no longer privy to the latest greatest gossip from around the feeding and water troughs and had little to share.   Even the chick flicks she at first attended twice a week left her feeling violated and used since they were nothing more than a banty rooster on a June bug story.  She also found going to the Cock of the Walk with her girl-hens for cocktails was no longer as much fun.  She had nothing in common with her old friends, and new friends were as hard to find as hen teeth.  The only bright side was she no longer had to put up with the cock and bull of the workplace.

One morning, after a less than fun night out, Henny woke and went for a long walk.  She had to admit that her new life had turned out to be egg on her face, she was still miserable, and KFC was doing wonderfully without her, which left her with little to do but brood.  After a while, she noticed a possum and armadillo following her.  From the look in their eyes there was little doubt they thought she looked finger licking good, so Henny picked up her pace.  She walked around the block several times hoping to lose them, but with each lap they gained ground until they were virtually parting her back feathers with their breaths.  But, she was not hatched yesterday; she knew exactly what to do.  She crossed the street.  Not thinking, the possum and armadillo followed her, and were immediately flattened by a Sanderson Farms chicken truck, proving once again that unlike a chicken some creatures indeed cannot cross the road.

Roadkill always made her feel safe and at ease, but there was also a slight tinge of sadness.  She couldn’t imagine living a life confined to one side of the road.  Being so cooped up would have driven her crazy.  At that moment a light clicked on in her head.  There was no time draining incubation period; the most marvelous idea of her life merely hatched!  It was a made from scratch idea that would allow her to finally come home to roost.  Instead of being subjected to constant poppycock as she was in her old job, she would rule the roost.  She might have to wing it at first, but the more she thought about it, the better she liked her idea.

Two years later, Henny was the talk of Egg Street.  She not only manipulated her idea into a multibillion dollar enterprise, but she bought KFC and opened a line of fleece and feather lined lingerie as well.  However, the kingpin of her financial kingdom remained embedded in that one brilliant roadkill inspired idea known to investors as HES and globally as Henny’s Escort Service for Potential Road Kill Victims.  For the first time in the history of the world, raccoons, possums, and armadillos could travel anywhere they chose safely.  Henny’s only stipulation other than getting paid was raccoons, possums, and armadillos had to swear off ruffling tail feathers, breast and thigh jokes, and other obnoxious behavior toward hens.  As for, boastful strutting harassing roosters, the business world followed Henny’s lead and stripped them of their management positions and relegated them to assist at diaper changing stations in public restrooms.  As for Henny, she slept until noon every day, dressed like a stinking sloppy crow, and relaxed all day on her penthouse balcony reading, For Whom the Chicken Crows, which of course she wrote.

Moral of the Story:

With a cool head and imagination, it is possible to make chicken salad out of chicken poop.

JL

©Jack Linton, January 6, 2018

 

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Requiem for The Battle of Linton Hollow

I am in mourning and shock.  For twenty days, the hen house in my backyard lay under siege in what became known as The Battle of Linton Hollow.  Night after night, the chickens cowered in fear as hungry predators circled their coop searching for ways to get at them.  By day, my wife and I mended holes in the fencing and set traps, but in the end, there was nothing we could do to save them.  It’s hard to admit, but we were simply outwitted by a craftier, more relentless, superior intelligence.  The varmints that struck down our chickens one by one could have taught Colonel Sanders a thing or two about “finger licking good.”  Once they honed in on the hen house location, and tasted the first chicken, there was no keeping them out of the buffet line.  The final casualty count read seven chicken lunches, seven raccoons, and three opossums.  Although I would have liked to publicly hang each and every critter we trapped, not one of the varmints was harmed; all trapped animals were given a meal and relocated to the river.  The chickens were not so lucky.

The final casualty of the battle was Devil Chicken, so named by my wife because she was mean as hell (the chicken, not my wife).  In some recent Facebook posts, I have referred to this gritty old girl (again the chicken, not my wife) as The Half Chicken.  During the siege of Linton Hollow, she lost an eye, all her tail feathers, and half a leg, but she was nevertheless a gallant bird to the very end.  Although the raiding critters treated her or at least parts of her as a “take out” meal throughout the siege, her spirit never wavered.  Unfortunately, the final assault, a beautifully orchestrated attack by a raccoon and opossum, was too much for her to handle.  The Half Chicken fell in battle sometime during the early morning hours of June 30.  The unexpected alliance of the raccoon and opossum was brilliant, and as of sunset July 3, the pair continued to elude capture with the same brilliance.  However, efforts to trap them and bring them to justice will continue for several more days.

The critters may have won the battle, but the war is not over!  In the spring of 2017, my wife and I will train a passel of new recruits.  These recruits will be hand selected, and put through regimented training that would make a Spartan warrior proud.  Our next brood of hens will kick raccoon and opossum butt.  Well . . . .  not really.  Chickens are called chickens for a reason.  They have four functions in life, and fighting heroically is not one of them.  Chickens eat, drink, poop, and lay eggs; that’s it!  When it comes to defending themselves, other than a peck and limited flight, they are quite helpless.  Their major line of defense against predators is a well-designed and well-built chicken coop.

The siege of Linton Hollow taught my wife and me our chickens did not have a well-built and well-designed chicken coop.  We did not skimp or plan it that way.  In fact, we were excited when we first built the coop; we were proud of our handiwork and thought any chicken would be honored to have such a great place to live.  Little did we know varmints were lurking in the shadows licking their lips and laughing at us.  However, the twenty day siege taught us a few things about design, and as a result, come spring, our backyard chicken coop will undergo major renovations.  Galvanized hardware cloth will replace the old 19 gauge chicken wire top to bottom.  Rolls of 18 inch galvanized razor wire will cover the top of the coop, and overlapping electric fencing will wrap around the perimeter of the coop and repel onslaughts from the sides.  The new design also calls for a four foot wide moat surrounding the enclosure.  Of course, both raccoon and opossums are excellent swimmers, but a wet varmint climbing over electrified fencing is about as good as it gets when it comes to turning a hungry determined varmint away.

Now, the wife and I are not sadistic meanies!  We have no desire to hurt any animal, but we do intend to do a better job of protecting our chickens in the future.  However, to be fair, we are erecting warning signs around the chicken coop.  If the diabolical four legged critters can read, they can save themselves some pain.  If they can’t, I can only hope they are fast learners.  Either way, I plan once again to have fresh eggs for breakfast by late fall 2017.  By the way, did I mention the 140 decibel alarm horn attached to the chicken coop as a part of the new defense system?

JL

©Jack Linton, July 3, 2016