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WordAddict
February 8th, 2017, 06:01 PM
Poor Hung Odessa (682 words) is a chicken story from my backyard farm website/blog. It comes with pictures but I don't know how to (or if I am allowed to) include them.

What do you think?

Poor Hung Odessa


When I came into the garage early that morning to care for the chickens, I found Odessa hanging head down from the light-switch cord which was wrapped around her foot. She was stiff and still and I feared she was dead. The other chickens seemed unconcerned. (Randy Rooster was crowing his displeasure at being locked in a garage and the hens were gathered around me making “where’s our treats?” noises).

Now, the chickens were in the garage because it was minus two degrees outside and I did not want them to freeze to death but as it was only twenty-five degrees in the garage I was afraid that that was exactly what poor Odessa had done. Nonetheless, I gently lifted her and cradled her next to my body. Then I disentangled her foot from the light cord all the while wondering how in God’s name she had gotten herself into such an impossible fix. I had gone to great lengths to make the garage safe and chicken-friendly. The concrete floor was covered in hay (grass clippings that I harvested last summer) and I had jimmied up roost bars using an old step ladder and some wooden rods. There was fresh water and food at the ready. What more could they ask for?

​Well, apparently Odessa was displeased with the accommodations and decided to roost high up on a shelf right next to the string which I pull to turn the light on. As to how she managed to wrap it around her foot and hang herself, I’ll never know.

As it turned out, contrary to appearances, Odessa was not dead. So after a quick evaluation which revealed no fractures or other injuries, I held her and massaged her ice cold feet. She still wasn’t moving but she was breathing and blinking and after a while I set her down in the grass hay. She puffed up and hunkered down and stayed just where I put her.

Now, it must be said that Randy Rooster and Odessa are a bit of an item. She is never far from him and although he takes his job seriously and attends to all of the girls, Odessa is his favorite. And so when Randy observed Odessa all hunkered and puffed, he apparently misread her signals for he immediately jumped on top of her and did what roosters do. To Randy's surprise, she did not respond to his advances which apparently quelled his ardor for he gave it up and wandered off to look for greener pastures elsewhere.

​I did my best not to anthropomorphize the moment and wring Randy’s neck. In my three years with chickens I have learned that they have their own rules and they generally know what they’re doing and – unless it is a matter of life or death – it is best if I do not try to impose my human values upon them. (Early on in my chicken career I tried and it always ended badly. But that’s a whole other story…..)

I waited a while to make sure Randy Rooster would behave himself and that Odessa’s sister-wives would leave her alone. Then I went off to take care of the rest of my family, namely Farm Dog Jesse. Half of him is Australian Shepherd and when I started my farm/chicken enterprise I had high hopes that he would one day perform herding duties. Sadly, it was not to be. He flunked out of Chicken Herd-Dog School but at least he did finally learn not to chase or eat them. But that, too, is a whole other story……

I fed Farm Dog Jesse, made myself breakfast and then ate it while reading a novel about weird characters doing strange things down in the Florida Keys where it is not minus two degrees. Then I returned to the cold garage to see what had become of Odessa.

I opened the door. Randy was still splitting the air with his angry cock-a-doodle-doos. And there was Odessa running around gulping down food with her sisters, none the worse for her near death experience.

PiP
February 8th, 2017, 06:52 PM
This is a lovely story, WA. Thoroughly enjoyed!

bdcharles
February 9th, 2017, 10:36 AM
Cute story! You should submit it to a farming publication :)

WordAddict
February 9th, 2017, 06:54 PM
PiP,

Thank you for reading my story and for your nice comment.

WordAddict
February 9th, 2017, 06:57 PM
bdcharles, Thank you for reading my story. I appreciate your words of encouragement.

jonblake
February 16th, 2017, 11:02 AM
Really enjoyed this story and I am not an easy reader to please. Very accomplished and nothing there just for show. Reminded me a bit of Moral Disorder by Margaret Attwood.

JaneC
February 24th, 2017, 04:44 PM
This was cute! :)