Imagine my surprise when I pulled up to the little country store in McDowell and discovered one of our red hens preparing to make a purchase. She was perched on the edge of the concrete step, perhaps considering what type of butter to buy for her bread, but when she saw me hop out of the car, she skedaddled. Zigging and zagging, that sassy clucker dodged under a truck and when I went left, she went right. We continued this game of tag for ten minutes while the two old farmers loafing on the edge of the porch watched and laughed. Finally, they sauntered over and all of us flapped our arms and feinted left and right until we had her headed in the general direction of the farm.
The farmers turned the chicken herding job back over to me and I followed the little red hen back down the road to the driveway that leads to our barnyard. But instead of turning left and joining her flock mates, that little feathered fiend continued straight across the pedestrian bridge and into the construction zone on the main road. I chased her until she ducked under a trailer and then gave up.
A hard-hatted worker strolled up and asked why I was chasing their pet chicken around. It turns out they’ve been feeding her breakfast, lunch and supper. Biscuits, sandwich crusts and small treats three times daily are far better fare than she gets in the henhouse. My chicken on the lam is living high on the hog. The worst part is that, apparently, she brought a friend to dinner yesterday. At this rate, In three more weeks, my barnyard will be bereft of cluckers and the men on the construction crew will be tripping over chickens. It would serve them right for harboring fugitives.