Friday, January 15, 2010

Demon Chickens From The Planet Zorgnog

That title isn't just for show. The Demon Chickens really exist. There are four of them in my yard and they're named Jemima, Towanda, Woebegone, and Franklin. Now I know what you're thinking. How did Franklin end up with such a square name? Well, he didn't. Originally, he was part of a pair, Beans and Frank. But then my sis, code name Fenris, took Beans to her house to chase her girl-type egg machines, and renamed him Mango. Then Mango met an untimely demise (don't asked, it's best left unsaid) and so now Franklin is the sole remainder of the questionable canned food dynasty. But he does get the girls.

And oh my ladies do have the goods! I'm proud to say that I have two of the loveliest, smartest egg-making-bug-hunting-mouse-stomping featherballs to ever walk the earth. Yes, I did say mouse-stomping. All my Demon Chickens are Jersey Giants, which makes them two foot tall thunder birds, capable (and in Towanda's case, more than willing) of killing things most chickens would run from. Jemima is the real thinker though, always watching how things work and then trying to figure a way around them. Primarily this means the gate to their pen. Lucky for me, chickens the size of a toddler don't sneak very well. Towanda, on the other hand, is serious about egg production. She either gives me double yokers or two eggs in one day. Now I was told by a chicken expert that this is impossible. But he never met Towanda. Nor could he explain two hens and three eggs in the same pen in one day either.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch, and in a separate pen, is dear sob story Woebegone. You see, Jersey Giants are horrible brooders. Meaning that they aren't good at hatching their own eggs and raising chicks. Nobody informed one of my sis's hens of this and she hatched out seven eggs a few years ago. Or she almost hatched out seven. She got six. The seventh was Woebegone. We looked in on the hatching one morning, noted the progress, and then went shopping. Eight hours later, we checked again. And found one egg in the exact same place, with the exact same hole, and a very exhausted little chick inside. My sister and I were raised in the wild wood. We knew that the chick was going to die. So we broke him out anyway. And don't you know the darned old thing lived? Yup. He lived in my bedroom for months, until he was the size of a cat. I coddled him, and nursed him. And named him Woebegone. For which he's never forgiven me. Yes, that dear little chick became what all spoiled rotten babies become: Spoil brats. He chases me. Jumps at me. Spurs me (don't laugh until you've had a nine pound rooster leap into the air and hit you with two inch spikes with the force of Cassius Clay going for the title) and pecks me. He's ungrateful, hot-headed and full of crap. And I love him anyway because he beat the odds.

Woebegone is also who provoked me to blather this post out at eleven pm. Because, you see, he's also ridiculously hysterically funny. His right wing won't extend all the way (it was wrapped around his head in the egg, which is what prevented him from pecking his way out in the first place) but he never seems to notice. This causes problems when he tries to flap while on his perch. Usually, he falls off. Sometimes, he only falls off halfway, which means he hangs upside down flapping and squawking before dropping into a disgruntled heap. The best is when this happens in the middle of the night. Woebegone is a light sleeper, unlike Franklin who nestles on his perch with his head hanging straight down towards the ground so that he looks dead. When I take the dogs out for their last bathroom run, Woebegone invariably wakes up. He begins crowing. Never mind that it's pitch black outside. Then he starts flapping. If you're really luck, this awakens Jemima and Towanda who begin squeaking in reproach over having been disturbed. Occasionally they wiggle around enough to make Franklin (still doing an imitation of chicken dinner) to sway back and forth, head swinging like a pendulum. Woebegone's flapping leads to an unbalanced rooster, which leads to Woebegone hitting the ground eventually where he quickly scrambles upright and begins strutting to and fro, completely undeterred and proud to have made an impression. Any impression, just so long as you've noticed him and marked his greatness.

Yes, my Demon Chickens are unlike any chickens you've ever hear of. I have suspicions that they're an advance scouting party of super chickens sent from the planet Zorgnog to size up the human resistance. But that's okay because they make good eggs and they keep my life interesting. And besides, when the Demon Chicken leaders commence their attack on us and their subsequent war for planet earth, I'll already be in good with their kind.


  1. Wow!

    I feel like I could step onto your property and pick out which is which by your wonderful descriptions.

    Such hilarity is just what I needed on this long, dragging Monday. Thanks!


  2. Why, yes, I was wondering how Franklin ended up with such a square name. This was a fun post. I'm sending the link to my dad who has gone completely soft for his beloved egg-layers over the years. Good luck with your demon chickens.

  3. You know, there's a book in here somewhere...

  4. Actually LiLa, some day I do intend to write a book, or get together a bunch of short stories about the farm life. There's a story in every morning it seems, whether it's Demon Chickens, or stick-wielding donkeys, or cows running down the highway with girls in pink slips chasing after them...