In early 2013 Landlady brought up a bunch of unsexed Brahma pullets. Unless you’re raising them for meat, the problem with unsexed chicks is that half will turn out male. No male chicken ever laid an egg, so the ones with that unfortunate Y chromosome become chicken dinners rather sooner than they’d probably planned.
Since Landlady doesn’t actually live here, I watch her chickens for a share of the eggs and an occasional cast-off cock bird. I move the meal-in-waiting to the Fortress of Attitude with my own hens, where he frets and causes trouble until I have fresh veggies and a yen for chicken stew. I don’t get meat very often these days and it’s a bit of an occasion.
Normally, on the day of their death they meet Mr. Hatchet. I don’t blame them for not being very cooperative about it. They do whatever they can to evade me, and that’s fine: I certainly would. And they’re quick and I’m not, which means I have to be smart. It’s not normally all that hard to be smarter than a chicken, which is why they always end up as supper.
But there was this one time when I got careless. I got him into the dog carrier I use for transport, but on the way to the block he got away from me. Without fencing, I couldn’t get close enough to recapture the little bastard.
And you know, for a minute there he made me mad. I mean, he was strutting around like he’d really pulled one over on me. It didn’t help my mood that he actually had pulled one over on me.
He was motivated to stay out of reach, and old one-legged Uncle Joel wasn’t going to get close to him.
This is, of course, one reason old Uncle Joel carries a gun.
Even at my best, which was many years ago, I was never a world-class pistol shot. But at my worst I can certainly headshoot a standing bird at five or ten yards when a chicken dinner is at stake. I don’t think he ever even knew what hit him.
He had his moment of triumph though, and that makes him special. Sometimes a moment is all you get.