Editor’s note: This is a blog from last year that I never published. It was just the beginning of what became very aggressive and destructive behavior.
Tonight for the first time I felt something other than absolute adoring love for my chickens.
I experienced fear.
I often joke that my house was built upon a junk yard. Countless shards of broken glass make their way up into the grass, surfacing like jagged, colored jewels. Once, a car steering wheel rose in an old garden bed. Just last week, an entire car tire appeared shredded in the dirt by our shed.
Of course, I worry about the chickens. I try to pick up everything I see, but inevitably the birds will find something they shouldn’t peck at.
This evening, Gigi found a small piece of rubber and ran off to a bush. I quickly ran after her, and she ducked, and took a hard turn, flapping her wings along the way. She had grabbed small pieced of rubber before (the inside of an old soccer ball?) but I was always able to get them from her. Tonight she had other plans.
I tried to scare her into dropping it, I tried to pick her up but she was not having any of it. As I continued this standoff, I saw something rushing at me out of the corner of my eye.
Nellie bit my leg with all of her pint-sized might. The little stinker.
All of this commotion was enough to distract Gigi, and I grabbed the piece of rubber.
I thought that was that, but I thought wrong.
Nellie came at me again, stretching her neck out far as she tried to bite me again. I quickly backed up. What was going on? I went in the house and put on my farm girl boots. Somehow my summer sandals left my feet feeling a bit too exposed.
As I approached the girls, Nellie broke from the crowd and charged me. She furiously pecked at my feet. Was that a growl I heard?
I backed up, and she came at me again. I was nervous she was going to bite above the boots, so I kind of scurried backward with her in tow.
Just this side of freaking out, I lifted my arms into the air, trying my best flying dinosaur impersonation. At this point, Gigi had joined in, charging at my feet. I felt behind me for anything to protect myself from, umm, two little chickens. I know, I know. But in this moment, I had no sense of perspective.
I felt an Adirondack chair behind me, and pulled it up in front of me. I lifted it high and made a menacing noise. Seriously. I did.
Both birds backed off. In fact, I think they laughed.
I was weak in the knees.
Sensing a break in the action, I ran into the house and watched the girls from the kitchen window.
Sadly, this was just a snapshot of what was to come.