Simply put, my peace of mind has been hijacked by 3 chickens and 3 turkeys. So far 2017 at The Wildwood Homestead has consisted of me slogging through ankle-deep mud and grudgingly pushing my way through dense briar bushes all day and night in fruitless attempts to waylay a meager flock of pea-brained poultry, only to return them to the security and coziness of their coop.
It all started the morning after we returned home from visiting our family up North for Christmas. I woke up early and anxiously made my way out to the coops to check on the feathered friends. Much to my surprise, there weren’t many left to check on. Apparently a ravenous forest critter (or 10) with razors for teeth chewed through 2 layers of chicken wire to make a smorgasbord out of my friendly flock.
With the exception of my 3 rogue turkeys and 3 rogue chickens, it was a total bloodbath out there. And I love how my poultry-loving gal pal came out here and cared for these birds throughout the entire week while we were traveling and all was just peachy keen and pleasant on her watch! Then the moment I get back into town a family of wild Sasquatch tears through my henhouse. What the heck, man?
Speaking of “Sasquatch”… Ever heard the sound of a 200 lb. grown-ass man smash up against a sliding glass window and then throw himself down onto a wooden deck? No? Well, it’s pretty terrifying. That’s basically what my hunk was up to last night. You see, to make a long story even longer, the 3 turkeys and 3 chickens that managed to escape the wrath of death over the weekend, are now traumatized and have pretty much lost their ever-loving minds. They’ve been running around this property aimlessly for days, all jacked-up on adrenaline and terror. First of all they’re freakishly swift, which makes it incredibly challenging to corner them. And because we apparently now live in a rainforest they’re also covered entirely in mud, making them slicker than greased weasel turds smeared on a doorknob, which (in case you didn’t already know) pretty much makes it completely impossible to maintain a good grip on them even if we are lucky enough to briefly snag one. So the hunk decided to go out after dark and shine the flashlight on the birds while they’re perched in the trees. It was a good plan. It might sound crazy, but chickens and turkeys can’t see all that well in the evening or at night – which by the way, is what makes them excellent prey. Snatching a snoozing hen off a branch by the light of the moon has actually been fairly successful around here.
Now. I can’t pretend to know what went on out there between that 25 lb turkey and my husband. All I know for sure is that someone slammed themselves up against a window (which thankfully didn’t break) and the next thing I know, I ran outside just in time to witness Josh lying facedown on the deck, turkey in his grip and a huge fluff of feathers taking flight and then swirling, dancing, gliding smoothly, softly in the moonlight to the earth below. It was really a sight. The good news is that my hunk is fine – his hipbone was a little bloody, but basically he’s fine. And the great news is that thanks to him, 2 of the 3 turkeys are safely tucked away in the coop. Yay! Go Josh!
But there’s bad news too. After trudging all over God’s creation through the dark, we finally spotted 2 of our chickens, but they were perched way up high in our privet tree. There was just no way we could reach them. Sadly our rooster “Pecker Neck” (yes, that’s his name – compliments of Josh) was nowhere to be found. I’m hoping he’ll turn up later this morning. He’s a dainty little fella but he’s truly one tough son-of-a-gun! I’ve seen him boss our Tom turkey around a time or two. Out of everyone, I’d say he’s the survivor in the bunch. He’s a Turken breed, which means his neck is completely naked of feathers, the flesh is exposed and bright red. Not the most attractive roo I’ve ever laid eyes on, that’s for sure. Of course, Josh laughed hysterically the first time he saw him and then immediately shouted “Pecker Neck!” That’s been his moniker ever since. Although I’ve recently convinced Jasper that the rooster’s name is “Rubber Neck”. After all, we can’t have a 4-year-old wandering around the house yelling “Pecker Neck!” That just wouldn’t be kosher.
So anyway… The rain is turning to snow this weekend and I’m absolutely on a mission to get these birds secure and snugged up tight in their new, cozy henhouse before the first flakes fall. Wish me luck. It’s going to be a long day.
Stay warm my friends.