by Taylor Vogel
I was having a pretty frustrating string of days a few weeks ago. The kind where I didn't want to get out of bed. But I did, because I'm an adult, and I was rewarded with walking into the backyard and finding these two beautiful chickens in the alley.
Now, I live in the heart of Fort Worth. There aren't just chickens running around all willey nilley all the time (by the way, there were in a friend's neighborhood in Piedmont, Oklahoma, and I really enjoyed that). These little buddies were obviously from a neighbor's coop. The only problem is, I didn't know which of the two possible coops they belonged in, and wasn't about to have them get hurt but popping them into one or the other.
I truly want to believe that if either of the animals in my charge were lost that a kind human would do everything they could to reunite them. I wasn't really sure how to apply this energy to chickens, though. So I finally downloaded Nextdoor and posted about them, knowing that my pets would go crazy all day if I were to have popped chickens into the backyard. Someone on a Facebook group assured me they would stay close and head home at dusk.
Except that they didn't. I connected with the neighbor who lost them, exchanged numbers, and felt terrible about it. The next morning I went to get some work done on my front porch and heard clucking from my yard. A CHICKEN! One of the sweet babies--the one who needed special care because of a crossed beak--came over to check me out.
Really bummed out that they weren't together (and very worried about a confrontation between the other and a neighborhood cat), I set myself to take this one home.
But I had never held a chicken. I kept thinking back to this scene from Impractical Jokers, and didn't want to let down Sal's dad.
So, I kept close to the thing and Googled "How to grab a chicken." Like an idiot. My Google history is rich.
Approach slowly, firm grip around the body, expect flapping and clucking, and then carry.
In case you were wondering.
It worked! I was able to catch the sweet baby, and after a few seconds (less than five) of flapping wildly, I was able to carry it down the block and to its coop! I was so exhilarated after months of nothing unusual to have been able to help a neighbor, to have held a chicken for the first time, and to have accomplished something concrete.
And, just so you know, the other chicken was in another neighbor's backyard and made it home safely. Hooray!
What's made a difference in your mood recently? Has anything unusual occurred that gave you opportunity for neighborly connection? Let me know in the comments below!
Taylor Vogel was a public school teacher, and isn't any more. She is the creator and host of the podcast, Now That I'm Not Your Teacher.