When we decided to buy chickens, we went ahead and bought 11 total, over the space of about a week. One died, so we now have ten. We didn't want any roosters, but and a really funny twist of fate, both of the Hilton Sisters have turned out to be boys. So instead of Paris and Nicky, we've got Man Paris and Nicholas. We still call them Paris and Nicky, though.
Here's Man Paris.
Funny things happen when you have kids, especially when you've got boys. And some things are pretty funny in retrospect, but but so much at the actual time.
A while back, Evie and Sam were playing outside, and I gave them permission to play with the chickens. They had been outside for a while, and I was just thinking to myself, 'Hmm, they've been out there for a while now. And it's awfully quiet. No good will come of this,' when Evie came running into the house, shrieking at the top of her lungs. 'Mom, mom, Sam threw Nicky into the side of the coop and she's just dead and she's not moving and there are bubbles coming out of her nose and SAM KILLED NICKY and I didn't do anything and MOM NICKY ISN'T MOVING!!!!' (Yes, she said it all one sentence like that, and actually there were no spaces between the words.)
Was the chicken's welfare my first thought? Was I concerned about the psychological state of my son? Sadly enough, no. The first thing that came into my head was, 'Aw, crap. I'm going to have to explain to John how his favorite chicken died on my watch!'
So I went out to check on the chicken. Sam was standing there crying, partly our of guilt and partly out of fear. (As it turns out, he just wanted to see the chicken fly, which is admittedly very very funny, and ended up pulling a Lenny; he just didn't realize his own strength.) Nicky was indeed lying on the ground, with bubbles coming out of his nose, not moving. I picked him up and he started to move a few seconds later; in a few minutes he seemed fine, if not a little shell shocked. We had a long talk with Sam about having respect for all of God's creatures We really didn't give it much thought after that.
About a week ago, my handsome husband came up to me and said, 'Babe, I think there's something wrong with Nicky. He acts really strange!' He went on to tell me some of the peculiar things Nicky does. He likes to run off on his own, which chickens don't do, and he gets left behind by the rest of the flock on a regular basis. It isn't uncommon to walk out on the porch and find Nicky perched on the doormat, making little squawking noises because he's lost the rest of the chickens. When we go out to feed the flock some raisins (it's like chicken crack, I'm telling you!! They love it, and that's what we've used to train them to come when we call them), Nicky will often just sit there and look at the raisin, and one of the girls will swoop in under him and eat it before he can. He's easier to catch, and just gets confused. Sometimes he'll stand just outside the chicken yard, squawking at the other chickens who are inside the yard eating all the food, while he's standing two feet from the open gate and is perfectly capable of flying over the very low fence. And sometimes, when all the others are eating birdseed that's spilled on the ground, Nicky just plops down in the middle of it all and stretches out. And he's never crowed!
We think he suffered some brain trauma when he got knocked out, and now he's retarded. Slow and special, mentally disabled, stoopid, whatever you want to call it. He's very, very sweet, though. Very gentle, not at all like a normal rooster. We may be able to keep both of them!!
Ladies and gentlemen, my retarded chicken, Nicky:
That's Nicky eating raisins out of my hand. He loves me. Now, he runs up to me and jumps on my toes.
And here's Sam and his very blond cousin, Mary Jane, harassing ... er, I mean holding some of the chickens.
Sam has Zsa Zsa and Thelma, and Mary Jane has Louise. Thelma is a little bit hateful. She comes up and pecks on my toes if I stand too close to her for too long. Eh, whatcha gonna do?