After seeing the hens being chased into the neighbor’s yard, I raced outside as quickly as I could. Everything was a Rhode Island-reddish blur, but I did know that it was a large dog, and the chickens looked (and sounded) terrified.
Peeking through the neighbor’s yard, there was absolutely no sign of the chickens or the dog. Our hope was that the chickens had run deep into the neighbor’s bushes or found an escape route that was too large for the dog to follow.
Slowly but surely, six of the chickens began reappearing from the front of our house. They must have made a quick turn down the gravel driveway to steer clear of the charging canine. One hen was waiting on the front porch, pecking softly at the door. We gathered the rest of the hens back to their coop/pen for the time being. As the chickens began settling onto their perches, their murmurings seemed to convey their disapproval of the whole ordeal.
There was still one hen missing. A light summer drizzle had begun, so we decided to search by car. We made our way down the street, stopping to ask neighbors (who were getting to know us quite well by now) if we could take a look in their backyards. Again, our neighbors were incredibly gracious as we called and searched for the lost hen.
We had come quite a long way down the road, when a neighbor noticed us and called out if we were looking for a chicken. Yes indeed, we were! Apparently, he and his wife had seen the chase from their back deck, and he had chased the dog away! Our hero! He was very impressed with the speed of our hen and shared that he and his wife were cheering her on as she ran. She was still heading west when they last saw her. Still heading west? Goodness! How far did she run?
By then we were coming to a four-way intersection, and she could have gone in any number of directions. We said a prayer that we would find her soon. If we were already exhausted after herding rabbits, I really don’t know how to describe how tired we were at this point. I was now at the point of putting my head down to cry, but I was too tired to cry. So I simply put my head down.
A moment of silence — then a great moment of hope as Jonathan calmly stated, “There she is.” I looked up and there was Apple Bloom or Cinnamon or Henrietta! (as mentioned in a previous post, we had lost track of whose name belonged to whom) But there she was, our sweet hen, slowly crossing the road and looking more exhausted than we were!
Why did the chicken cross the road? To get back home, of course! She looked ever so thankful and relieved to be back in her coop!
A few lessons that we learned that day –
– Never question the sheer determination and endurance of a rabbit. (the Energizer Bunny makes complete sense to me now)
– We really need a fence.
But most importantly ..
– We have such wonderful neighbors!
The Oxford Dictionary defines neighborly as:
1.characteristic of a good neighbor, especially helpful, friendly, or kind.
This describes our neighbors perfectly — we are so blessed!