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Sunday, November 20 2016

With a hypnotic whisper their eyes tapped me on the shoulder.

"Turn around."

So I did.

Reason #467 for having a Border Collie.

In the years BB (Before Briar) it was my custom to have Lily herd the chickens back into the coop around 2 o'clock in the afternoon before I left for work. Since birds behave about like cats, this wasn't an easy task but in time, she trained them.

Now that I have Livestock Guardian Dogs, getting chickens into a coop before dark is not such a pressing issue, but before I retire for the night, I like to have the birds locked inside their coop in the chicken yard.

Birds work on their own schedule and sometimes getting them to bed is like putting down a Girl Scout slumber party. They don't want to go inside the coop until the sun has completely set. Since I greatly dislike having to tromp back out in the dark to lock the coop, I recently hired a new Troop Leader.

One part Nanny McPhee. One part traffic cop. One part Clint Eastwood. Mesa gets the job done.

Tonight I didn't get the birds in until well after dark, so they were already inside the coop. All I needed to do was lock up.  I was still leaned over, locking more devices than a New York City apartment door, when I felt the stare.

Then there was an angry squawk.

"You want this one?"

I turned around. Lily and Mesa were outside the chicken yard, poking an indignant bird toward me. One dog on each side, steering a chicken. My Darwin Award Winner. Aptly named "Darwin."

This bird flies out of the chicken yard on a regular basis. I doubt clipping a wing will solve her problem as she is a master of the artful hop. Her study of aviation would make the Wright Brothers proud. And she could definitely be a contestant on the television show, Wipeout. I have been assured that as she matures, she'll get too heavy to accomplish these feats of grace. Maybe. If she lives that long.

Darwin gets out every few days. Sometimes multiple times a day. Her record is four. I have ten dogs. The chicken is playing Russian Roulette. One day she is gonna roll a Blue Heeler.

But not today. Thanks to Lily and Mesa, Darwin will live to see another sunrise. And you can add that to your X Games list of extreme sports. There beside BASE jumping, skydiving, and wingsuit flying, you can add the extreme sport of Wipeout Chicken Hopping.

This sport consists of a young bird, preferably a heritage breed of laying age, who will use objects in the court of play to provide a take-off point for launch. Objects may consist of, but are not limited to, the coop roof, the shade cloth tarps, feeders, waterers, and the metal hoophouse.  Bird may use any of these objects in any combination to achieve her desired launch. Bird must take into account weather conditions such as prevailing winds and humidity which may adversely affect feather frizz and lift-off potential. Points will be added for each obstacle used in combination. No points will be awarded if player is eaten by dog on the other side of the chicken yard fence.

Thus far, our reigning champion in the extreme sport of WipeOut Chicken Hopping is Darwin.

Don't get too fond of her. Her days are numbered.

Posted by: forensicfarmgirl AT 07:29 pm   |  Permalink   |  6 Comments  |  Email
Hi, I just finished reading your WHOLE blog. I stumbled across it while looking for info on teaching my Collie pup to herd, and couldn't stop reading. It's been a delightful read, and very educational for someone who dreams of someday trying to get into small-scale farming. I was just wondering...I haven't seen any updates on Ranger or Cowboy lately; how are they doing? Also, I'd love to see more pictures of your house/barn - it sounds like an interesting concept. Anyway, I just thought I'd drop a note to say that I have appreciated your blog very much. It's made me laugh, it's made me sad, it's made me THINK. Your writing is down to earth and very, very real, and I'm glad to have found your blog. Sarah K Brown North Conway, NH
Posted by Sarah on 11/20/2016 - 08:18 PM
Sarah, have you read the Farm Fresh Favs and Briar Patch all-star posts? My favorites are Too Little and Oh Holy Night.
Posted by Peg H. in Wisconsin on 11/21/2016 - 12:24 AM
Hi Sarah! Thank you! Your kind words made my day. I will be sure to write an update on Cowboy and Ranger, but rest assured, both are happy boys. Ranger is sleeping at my feet and Cowboy is snoozing in bed with Other Half. :)
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 11/21/2016 - 06:07 AM
What a gorgeous chook [chicken]. Her genes may yet make it. May be looks as well as brain power. Sarah this is my morning paper. Have been reading since BriAR was a pup. How's the book going?
Posted by Liz (Vic Aust.) on 11/21/2016 - 04:48 PM
Awww Liz, you are so sweet! And yes! You've been here since the beginning. All the way from Australia! Darwin got out again today. Again the dogs ignored her.
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 11/21/2016 - 07:33 PM
The Farm Fresh Forensics book is being polished up now and will be sent out to agents starting in January. Once we secure an agent, then we'll start shopping publishers. :)
Posted by Forensicfarmgirl on 11/22/2016 - 07:27 AM

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