The Eighth Chicken

We had severe storms during last night. I woke once to the sound of heavy rain tap-tap-tapping on the skylight in the bathroom but I fell back to sleep again. In the morning I heard that trees were down and many people lost their power, but our power didn’t even flicker and I saw no newly fallen trees on our property.

I felt drowsy all day, like my mind was in a thick fog. I did my normal chores today, including laundry, but I didn’t do anything extra. I dried the clothes in the drier rathern than out on the clothesline because it was overcast all day, and meteorologists warned that another round of severe storms would roll in during the late afternoon and evening. It was very humid but I was comfortable in our air-conditioned house. In between doing my chores, I settled down with ice tea and the next Steve Hamilton book, with Hannah Joy on my lap.

The day became increasingly gloomy during the afternoon. I watched radar on EJ’s computer and saw a massive storm cross Lake Michigan and move into the state. EJ got home from work around 6:30 p.m. The storm followed him home and hit not long after he arrived. It came with wildly swaying trees, frequent lightning, and very heavy rainfall. EJ kept us updated on the weather with his radio and computer. There were reports of a tornado or two not far from us.

I went outside several times before the storm hit hoping to get the chickens safe and snug in their coop, but they were wandering around outside. Usually they all go into their coop in the evening and all I have to do is count them and then shut the doors. It’s almost impossible to herd them into the coop until they are willing to go themselves. So when I saw them outside I went back into the house for a few more minutes before going back out to see if they were in their coop yet. No luck.

The storm hit with sudden fury, and I figured the chickens would have all gone into the coop. I waited until there was a lull in the storm and then I ran out to the coop.

The chickens were in their nesting spot on top of the fancy coop we had bought at TSC when we first decided to buy chickens. The fancy coop and an old doghouse are both inside the large coop–which is a shed we bought from Lowes. I counted the chickens to make sure they were all there: One, two, three, four, five, six, seven…one was missing. I counted again in case I had miscounted the first time:Β  One, two, three, four, five, six, seven…The eighth chicken–a hen–was still missing. I looked inside the fancy coop and inside the old doghouse, but they were both empty. I figured the eighth chicken must have taken refuge from the storm in one of the three dog houses we have scattered outside that they can run to for sanctuary.

I didn’t want to leave the hen out in a doghouse all alone in the storm. I didn’t think it would be easy to get her into the coop if she settled down for the night in a doghouse. I didn’t want her to be out there all night where she was at risk of becoming a meal for a predator.

So I took the cane down from where it was hanging in the shed. I call it my “rooster whacker” but I don’t really whack roosters with it. I use it more like a shepherd’s staff or to pull out-of-reach eggs closer. I took it with me and went out in the rain and looked in the dog-gloo. I thought I could see a dark hen-shaped form in there. I used the cane to guide her out. She ran into the large open door of the coop and into the chicken area. Before I could close their little chicken-sized door, she and Sassy, our alpha rooster, went out into the storm. Sassy came back in but the little hen didn’t.

I sighed and went back out into the rain. It was raining harder again and lightning was flashing. I walked around to the back side of the coop where there was a plastic doghouse. I bent down and looked inside. The little hen was in there. Once again, I used my cane to nudge her out. She ran out and into the coop through the little door, which was only a few feet away. I hurried around the coop, through the large human doors, and into the coop to quickly shut the little door before any more chickens could get out. Then I hung up my cane, turned off the lights, and went out of the coop.

As I turned to shut and lock the coop door, a huge streak of lightning hit and thunder roared right over my head. I think the lightning strike wasn’t far away. Spooked, I ran into the garage and from there into the house. I was pretty wet by the time I got inside. The storm raged for a while longer before it finally moved off.Β  It looks like it will rain for most of the night but hopefully the worst of the storm is past. I hope so. We need rain, but I’d prefer not to have tornadic weather.

Oh, the photo at the top of this post is not mine. It’s a royalty-free photo I found on the Internet. I was too busy trying to get the eighth chicken into the coop to take photos.

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8 Comments on “The Eighth Chicken

  1. Yikes, what an evening and I meant to come back here last night after we were commenting on the bad weather and you said you had just written a post … it got so late and I remembered after I shut down and pulled the plug on the laptop – I wasn’t taking any chances with the predicted stormy weather here … we never got it overnight, and TJ … they predicted it today, it never arrived. Not that I am complaining. Your ordeal with the hen – that 8th chicken. And you said the ducks were a lot of bother! Tell them next time a storm is coming, you’ll tether them close to the coop. Finally you got them rounded up and it gave you a break from watering for a few days. I am so ready for Fall and feel free to remind me on a cold Michigan January or February day how I whined about the heat because I deserved to be smacked then!

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    • I will merely remind you of how much better cold weather is! πŸ™‚

      I am glad you didn’t have any severe weather.

      The ducks were easier to herd. I ony had to say “Time for bed!” and they would march off into the coop. But otherwise they were very messy. The chickens usually just put themselves in the coop, but it is very difficult to get them in early. They can be stubborn. πŸ™‚

      Liked by 1 person

      • I know it – the heat and stormy weather, or the threats of stormy weather is so nerve-wracking. I am glad we didn’t get it either – your blog post just exemplified what such a bad storm feels like. I had to tease you about the ducks since chicken #8, and then its comrade who squeezed past your leg, were being ornery. Their feathers were ruffled just a little, not to mention wet. πŸ™‚

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      • When I saw Sassy go outside and the hen follow him, I wanted to yell, “NOOOOOOOOO!” It was such a comedy! Me outside in the wind, and rain, and lightning trying to herd them into the coop. LOL.

        Liked by 1 person

      • It did sound funny – EJ should have taken a picture for your blog!! I came back here because I am finally reading meteorologist Paul Gross’ weather forecast and he went into detail about yesterday’s storm. I know you and EJ are interested in the weather, so if you didn’t see his write-up on Click on Detroit, here it is: scary stuff and he said not as bad as a derecho, which you and I discussed that one in 1980 or 1981:
        https://www.clickondetroit.com/weather/metro-detroit-weather-relief-from-heat-is-on-the-way

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      • EJ should have gotten it on video! Ha, ha!

        I read the article. It was interesting. Thanks for sharing it. πŸ™‚

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s what I thought too TJ! I like Paul Gross – he is very scientific and does get a bit much as to geek-speak for weather events but he knows his weather stuff and loves explaining it to people.

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