Feathers and Ladders and Merry Xmas
Tila Tequila, our most prolific laying hen, has lost her feathers. She molted a month later than the others this winter and not in the normal way which is by dropping one feather here and one feather there. Instead, she dropped them all at once overnight and has been careening awkwardly around the backyard, with feathers wringing her neck and a few stragglers sticking sideways from her wings. It’s…a little creepy, if I’m being honest. Reminds me of Dumbledore’s phoenix who exploded into smoke and was reborn a new, naked chick. (And no, I won’t apologize for the Harry Potter reference). I’m not so bothered by Tila’s stubbly naked body except for one thing – without feathers, a chicken can’t fly. This is troublesome if the naked chicken sleeps in trees. It means that, although she can easily hop into the limbs, she cannot easily control her flight down from the tree in the early morning when the birds wake up to stomp around the backyard. That’s why we woke this morning to pained screeching from the neighbor’s yard where she landed, since she couldn’t navigate her path back down into our yard. And that’s why we had to run for the ladder and argue over which poor soul would scale the fence, toss her over, and then scramble back up the other side. In my defense, I DID try to be the brave one. I climbed the ladder and perched atop the fence but imagined my ankles breaking on the other side and refused to jump over. Let’s face it, I’ve never been anyone’s hero so Jer pushed me aside with a grumble and climbed the ladder, jumped over, snatched the chicken (sssqqqqwwwwAAAAAACK!!!) and tossed her over. 28 degrees and in our pj’s, it was a truly splendid post-Christmas morning. Which reminds me: Merry Holidays! I hope yours were warm and free of chicken rescues.