Chicken Rustlers Sometimes Eat Crow

“Betty, here’s my recipe for oven fried chicken that you wanted. Speaking of chicken, are those your chickens running around loose in my back yard?” Lucille said to her neighbor as she slipped the recipe in her pocket and hastened toward the sliding door to get a better look.

“No, that can’t be. We clipped their wings and repaired the chicken yard fence yesterday.”
Betty wiped the steam from the glass and peered outside into the darkness. The rain was pelting down in heavy torrents. Lucille’s back yard had become a pool of wet grass. A flurry of Rhode Island Red hens were scurrying about the yard, flapping their water soaked wings against drenching rain. “Oh my gosh! My hens are loose! We’ve got to get them back into a dry pen before they catch pneumonia.”

Lucille quickly followed Betty out into the weather to corral the feathered escapees.

“Here, Lucille, these salmon fishing nets will make catching them much easier.” Betty shouted as she shoved a huge net in Lucille’s direction.

Betty and Lucille chased the squawking hens through several neighboring yards. The hens noisily dodged swooping nets as the two determined women splashed their way down the normally quiet rural street.

The overly excited birds bolted through an overgrown cow pasture where Betty slipped and rolled across the grass and Lucille slid into a puddle of muck netting a fence post instead of a hen. Customers at a nearby Arco Mini-Mart watched in disbelief as the net carrying duo chased the fluttering flock past the gas pumps and then disappeared into the squall.

“Enough is enough!” Betty told Lucille. “Let’s go back home and get dried out. Look at us! We’re soaked. Those birds have no intention of being rounded up tonight.”

“You won’t get an argument out of me. But before we change our clothes, let’s check the chicken coop and see how they managed to get out.”

Lucille added with a chuckle. “Maybe we’ll get lucky and some of them went back to the pen on their own. Then we won’t be going back completely empty-handed.”

Betty’s eyes were flat. She was too tired, wet, muddy and frustrated to find any humor in the situation.

There were no visible signs of damage to the outer fencing around the chicken yard. Other than being soaked from the downpour, everything appeared to be in its normal place. How did the chickens escape?

Betty opened the hen house door. A single light bulb swayed gently which made it possible for them to see inside the room. Lucille peeked over Betty’s shoulder.

The hens were all huddled together on their roost. The room was dry, warm and undisturbed. They had been in bed for the night and safe from the storm since dusk.

The chickens looked up at the two astonished women and clucked, as if to ask, “What do you want at this time of the night?”

“Betty, we’re chicken rustlers!” Lucille shrieked. “The chickens we were trying to net must belong to Mr. Brown who lives down by the school.”

“I feel so stupid,” Betty replied. She was embarrassed but glad to know her chickens were safe.

Lucille pulled a dripping wet recipe out of her pocket and handed it to Betty. “Why don’t you go home and try this chicken recipe…it’s better than eating crow!”

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