Oh, how I wish I had a camera to document all of my chicken adventures - especially this one. Although, those who witnessed the event probably would not want to be reminded with a visual...
I can still see the sun shining, the ladies and their children casually chatting and playing in my backyard. I can see myself standing by the chicken tractor with a friend, proudly sharing all of my beginner's knowledge on chicken rearing.
And I can still hear the horror in my friend's voice as she said something like, "WHAT IS THAT??!!"
Protruding out of one unfortunate hen's vent was a bloodied mass of...insides. The other hens, far from horrified about this turn of events, greedily began pecking at the jumping, clucking, bleeding chicken's rear.
My frantic, "What do I do??!!" brought the attention of the other ladies, who, upon seeing the canibilism taking place before their very eyes, began gasping, "Oh my!" and "EW!! Gross!" and "Are they eating her?!"
I had read enough to know that the wounded chicken would be eaten by the other chickens unless they were separated. Chickens love chicken blood. In fact, chickens love to eat just about anything - especially chicken.
So, I made a quick decision to lift up the chicken tractor (we didn't make a door - something that was a nuisance the entire time we had chickens) and let the wounded one out...or let the other hens out. I suppose I assumed they would be quite orderly about getting out of the cage - clucking sweet things like, "You first, poor dear," and "Why thank you. I do think I need to get out for awhile." Instead, quite the opposite was true.
They saw their chance at freedom and bolted through the narrow opening right toward the unsuspecting children.
Immediate panic set in as moms in a frenzied flurry gathered their children closer. The children, on the other hand, thought the chickens were quite exciting and attempted to pick them up. This produced more gasps of disgust, pulling of the children, and kicking at the hens - especially the one with blood oozing from its back side.
Not exactly sure how to get the crazy birds away from the group, I kicked at them, shooed them with my flailing arms, and said brilliant things like, "Get! Get!" and "Go!"
Eventually, the oblivious chickens pecked their way into the small patch of woods in the corner of our property.
Audible sighs of relief were heard. After a few nervous chuckles and "oh my" 's, things settled down and the children were free to swing and dig in the sand.
One of the ladies confided, "I thought I'd like to give raising chickens a try, but now I don't think so. That was disgusting."
Looking down, I saw a few drops of blood still glistening on a blade of grass.
I had to agree.
To be continued...(Part 4)