* Dialogue obviously made up, nothing else is.
There used to be a routine with the backyard chickens. They would wake up and begin squawking and jump around inside their coop until released. When released, they would run and jump and check out under the bird feeders. Sometimes chickens such as Elvis, Bruce, and Comrade Cane would pretend to fight. They never truly fought, they were just practicing for adulthood.
Gandalf the older silkie was a bad influence on “his” flock, as he came to claim the top of the pecking order. After all, he was the only confirmed cock in the backyard. (And by older, he was only born in March; all other backyard chickens were born after then.)
First Gandalf decided he was not going to sleep in the coop, and he hid for many nights in a row before finally settling in with his crew.
Then, a week ago, Gandalf said to Bruce, Oreo, Austin, & Vaulty, his main likely-hens: “As free chickens, we get to choose where we sleep.”
Now silkies are allegedly notorious for sleeping outside of the coops — that’s what Chicken Farmer Christine told Chicken Farmer Alixandra literally last night — and after Gandalf’s little outside-coop phase, he somehow convinced the others to follow suit.
One night Chicken Farmer Alixandra went to close up the chickens. It was still light out, and early really, as the sun was setting near 8 and the longest day, June 21st, seemed so recent in memory. The chickens often stayed out past their bedtimes as a result and Chicken Farmer Alixandra was not surprised when Comrade Cane, Comrade Brown, Comrade Sugar, and Carl (maybe it was Vaulty) were sitting on top of the chicken coop instead of in it. She left and came back later. The chickens were in the same spot.
The farmer left again, came back, and still the four chickens remained on the top of the coop. Yet, as the sun set in the distance, she noticed something different: Oreo, Bruce, Austin, and Elvis were sitting atop the fence.
And Gandalf, Carl (or Vaulty), and Poppy were behind the coop.
That night none of the chickens slept in the coop, but all of the chickens survived.
Nights passed and the eleven backyard chickens continued to rebel against their surrogate mother hen/human and sleep outside. Late at night, as shooting stars went across the sky and the stupid local skunk stalked through piles of rubbish, the four non-silkie, non-Cochin chickens on the fence would discuss things.
“Remember the goats?” said Austin Frex, nervously; she was the least confident of the four and had been very unsure when little goats Shyanne and Bruiser invaded their coop.
“Remember Mandarin and Mandolin?” asked Brucey instead.
“Or Comrade Raw!” cried one of the comrades from five feet below on the chicken coop. The other two comrades saluted their fallen comrade. He had passed away one night in the chicken coop, during one of the nights that the goats were there, and he did not look hurt or smushed or anything; it was a tragic, mysterious death. It was a surprising death because Comrade Sugar had been hurt by something; underneath her right wing was raw and she limped for a good two weeks, but she was realistic, persistent, and confident, and slowly recovered. Comrade Raw’s death was too sudden to be treated. The trick to recovery with chickens is happiness and hope.
Each day the chickens foraged around the backyard, happily ran to their hen-human, and returned to their own chosen bed, which was always outside of the coop.
Meanwhile, on the same property, the garage chicks continued to grow. With the exception of Gandalf and Oreo, none of the backyard chicks had ever been to the barn, and it was becoming time for the next batch of chicks to move on, to decide if they would be put to the garage or backyard or what.
With the unfortunate deaths of Mandarin and Mandolin, Chicken Farmer Alixandra was hesitant to free-range her new chick batch. She wanted to hold on to her chicks. At one point she set up a little mini-chicken spa outside, yet it was within a brooder so it allowed the chickies little freedom.
When the backyard chickens went on strike against their coop, C.F. Alixandra decided to utilize that and moved her garage chicks there. There were eleven of them.
Lenny, Peeps, Jasmine, Orchid, Cornelia, Cinnamon, Shadowfang, & four more were moved into the outside backyard coop. After all, it was lovely weather.
And then a flash storm happened…
(to be continued)