Updated: May 11, 2020
This post will be the bizarre little tale of a chicken who crossed my path. It started a few days into the new year when my neighbor called asking if we wanted to come see a chicken on her front porch.
"A chicken. Really," she said. "There's a chicken on my porch."
My interest peaked, I walked across our yards and onto my neighbors porch. Sure enough, there, squished between a Christmas display and the wall of the front porch was a little black and white ball of feathers. The little thing had its head tucked under one wing. It seemed fast asleep. It was at once pathetic, kind of weird looking and... kind of cute.
The next day it was still there, puttering on her porch and I finally got a good look at it. I had never seen such a conglomeration of speckled fluff before. It was an unusual looking chicken, small with black and white splotchy feathers and a fluffy, feathered head.
I wasn't sure what to do. It wasn't like it was my problem. I kept expecting someone to come looking for it, as odd as the bird looked it was likely an expensive breed. I thought I might even see someone putting up flyers for a lost chicken. I live in a city neighborhood so it couldn't have traveled far, right.
It's a chicken.
I watched it putter around in mine and my neighbors front yards for a couple of days before it wandered into the street and nearly got run over.
That was it. I didn't know what I was going to do but I had to do something.
So I did...something.
Have you ever tried to chase a chicken?
I can only imagine how hysterical I looked chasing that scrawny black and white chicken all over my front yard. I'm sure anyone familiar with chicken care would have found it particularly laughable.
The worst part was, the chicken won.
Out of breath and staring down at a rather smug looking chicken, I finally had the bright idea to go get a broom and use that to herd the thing.
It was then that I found out, chickens can jump. Really, really well.
Finally though, the thing tired itself out and I was able to half push it into my backyard.
(I didn't know at this point if you were supposed to pick up a chicken or not. So I didn't.)
I fed it some veggie scraps and for the next month I had a chicken in my backyard.
At first I just left it to its own devices in the backyard. The little thing seemed perfectly happy to just nibble at whatever I gave her and happily pecked at the grass.
She would dig herself a little, "nest" alongside my fence in the night or squish herself in between my wall and an extra door I have leaning against it.
She looked really cute.
Then we had a cold snap.
After copious googling of chicken coops to have any real idea of what that meant, I dug an old unused cabinet with an attached door out of my garage and put in up on a worktable I keep outside. I put a floppy pillow on the bottom of it and hoped it would do.
Then I proceeded to chase the chicken.
The cold front was due to come in any minute but the chicken, who I had begun to call Speckles by this point, just wouldn't go in.
I considered picking her up but should I?
Would that give a chicken a heart attack?
Was that a thing?
While chasing the chicken my nephew stopped by to watch the show. After getting what I'm sure was hysterical phone footage I finally turned to him and shouted,
"Richard, do something!"
And to my utter shock, he did.
Calm as could be, he put away his phone, (a miracle in itself), walked over to Speckles, picked her up while she caught her breath, and gently tucked her into the cabinet. As I slowly shut the door, I saw her nestling herself into her pillow and tucking her head into her wings. It had worked! It had actually worked!
I gave my nephew a good slap on the back and he gave me a satisfied smirk in return. Ha!
Every night afterwards, even after it warmed back up, I would go outside at sundown, catch Speckles when she sat to catch her breath, tuck her in her cabinet for the night, then open the door back up for her in the morning with some fresh veggie scraps.
One day it started to rain while I was at work and I worried that Speckles would get wet. Did chickens like water? Would she know to stay out of the rain?
To my surprise, when I arrived home, I saw her running around the backyard and I could just tell, that little chicken was having the time of her life!
Her strange feathers were drooping so that she looked like a wet cat, it was pouring all around her, but there she was clucking away and pecking at the grass as if she was queen of the water.
I hated to ruin her fun. I let her stay out as long as I could before tucking her in for the night.
We stuck to that little routine for the next month until, one day I came home, and she wasn't there.
I looked all over my backyard to find that my back fence had sagged and caused the gate in the middle to swing open, into my neighbors yard. I looked all over their yard, along with all my adjoining neighbors, went up and down the street and several blocks, but I never found so much as a feather.
Speckles was gone.
We've since had the fence braced and the gate fixed.
I never have found Speckles again. I would never would have thought I'd feel so bereft at the loss of an animal. Especially one I eat on a regular basis.
What am I supposed to do with this experience? What am I supposed to glean from it?
I've never really had a pet before. Was this chicken my pet?
Is that why I feel so bereft at the loss of a chicken?
I mean- it's a chicken.
But- watching her peck around in my backyard was just so cute. Whenever it rained I had thought she'd stay in her little shelter but no, she would run around, her feathers floppy and flattened, pecking and clucking away at the muddy earth and grass as if thrilled!
Several weeks ago, what I have written above was how I was going to end this blog post, but something niggled at me. At first I thought it was my own stubbornness to write this article to sound more intriguing, more heartfelt- more- something.
Then I realized that it wasn't just that.
This whole bizarre little chicken tale, was a story without an ending, and I just didn't know the ending- not yet anyway.
So I left it in draft form, walked away from it, and I prayed.
For those who don't know me, I should tell you now that, I follow Jesus, I am a Christian. So I pray. Alot.
Which is why, in the time after I lost her, in the middle of several very serious prayer needs, I found myself praying for a chicken.
I figured it God cares enough to keep his eye on a sparrow or finds worth in a common dove, then it was alright for me to pray for a little chicken that had made me smile.
I prayed that she was alright, I prayed that she was safe. Maybe her former owner had found her, maybe someone else had taken her in, maybe.
More than anything else though, I prayed that I would get to know the ending to this story. I prayed that if she was okay, or even if she was not, that God would somehow let me know, even if all he did was put a peace on my heart about it.
But he didn't.
He didn't let me know anything, he didn't just put peace in my heart.
He showed off. ;D
It was the weekend of spring break when I went out garage sale hunting with my mom. It was a chilly damp day and there weren't many to hit that weekend. There was one though that had advertised that it would be open til four so we decided to hit it.
When we arrived at the house, the lady was very nice. I noticed in her small backyard that she had a large chicken coop with several various sized birds pecking around in her backyard. Seeing them gave me a pang for Speckles.
I commented on her lovely birds and mom talked to her about her chickens while I looked at her tables, she had quite a bit of pet supplies for sale. I heard her mention that one of he chickens was a recent rescue from animal control.
I felt my ears perk up.
My mom asked what it looked like. I turned around as she said, "Oh, she's speckled black and white."
My mom and I both exclaimed at the same time our story of losing a chicken we had found. She led us into her coop and pulled out a black and white ball of fluffy feathers.
It was Speckles!
My mom and I gushed out the whole story of how we'd found her, taken her in, how we'd lost her and finally how we had been praying that we would find her again, or at least find out what happened to her.
She got the biggest kick out of our little chicken tale and she got to tell us the other half of Speckles' story from her end.
It turns out,in early February she had been found wandering around the street right behind us! Someone called animal control on her.
(Can you believe that! Someone one street over from us is a chicken snitch!)
A friend of hers who works at Animal Control, who knew she had chickens, called her and told her that a chicken had been brought in and that if she didn't take it, it would be put down. So she went and picked her up and took her to the vet. After receiving a clean bill of health and a feather cut so she could see, she has been slowly integrated with the rest of this kind woman's birds and is enjoying her new life under the name Cha-Cha. her new friends are Rizzo, Sandy, Jan, Marty and Frenchy. (Yes, they are all named after characters in "Grease" ;)
Speckles has a great little home now with real chicken food, lots of buddies to hang with and and a new owner who actually knows how to take care of her.
God still has yet to answer some of my bigger prayers, but sometimes, he answers the little ones in God Winks like this just to let you know that he is listening and that whether we get to see his finished work or not, he is working at answering all that we ask of him.
This story, this Circle was complete.
Now, what's next? ;-P