I would have given my right arm for another pair of hands yesterday (well, that would have been counterproductive). Running a tad late from the start, I was tending the chickens, letting the Silkies and then the bigger "little" girls out of their houses, checking water bowls and putting down breakfast. The roosters get a burst of testosterone in the morning and won't take no for an answer. Just as I opened the gate to leave the big pen, Mad King George raced after a reluctant red hen and before I could step out, she managed to squeak past me to freedom. Oh crum. Bessie offered to help, but I'd spent so long teaching her not to chase chickens, I didn't want her to start again so put her into the feed shed. Sure this would be the day the dogs would show up (they've been good lately) or a hawk would swoop down, I couldn't leave the unnamed hen out on her own. I couldn't leave the gate open because the entire flock would have escaped. There are no inside corners where I could trap Chicken, so around and around the pen we went, sometimes slowly, sometimes so fast her legs were a blur. I'll bet we made thirty laps, going one way and then the other. Chicken would stop to scratch away leaves and peck a few bugs or seeds. I would move up stealthily, get close to grabbing range, and off she'd go. If I'd had a pair of helping hands, they could have opened the gate as we made a pass and I could have herded her in, but none were available. Near tears and out of breath and cuss words, after an hour I had to leave her to her fate, let Bess out of isolation, and get down to the by-then crazy goats.
The disruption in their schedule had made the big girls cranky and squabbling and no one wanted to follow the rules. Poppy plodded on in her placid way and ignored the chaos around her. I wanted to hug Poppy.
Chicken and I made a few more laps after I came back up from the barn, to no avail. Later in the day, I enlisted the help of a milk customer (who undoubtedly had better things to do) to chase Chicken with me. Unfortunately, during the misty day Chicken had discovered sanctuary under the feed barn; just enough head space for a chicken but not a human. Down on our bellies in the dirt, Chicken stayed frustratingly just out of reach. That mission failed.
Nightfall. Bedtime. Tucking the Silkies in, I headed to the big pen. As I opened the gate, I heard tiny footsteps behind me. As if it had been her plan all along, Chicken followed me into the pen, jumped up the step to the coop, and went in to get her snack, undoubtedly telling the others of her adventures and getting a laugh at my expense. I shut the doors and went to the house. Good night, Chicken.