Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Chris and I had the good fortune to be asked to house sit for the Educational Director, Matt. We were excited to experience the luxury of his trailer, complete with air conditioning and a flushing toilet. Before leaving on his vacation, Matt went through the details of caring for all of his animals which included 2 dogs, 2 ducks, a cat, several chickens and a rooster. When we arrived Sunday evening we noticed that most of the chickens were out of their pen and running around the area. We thought it would be a good idea to work together to round up the chickens and put them back into their pen. Why not? Were competent professional people from New York City - how hard could wrangling a few chickens be? An hour later, hot, frustrated and completely unsuccessful, we gave up. We couldn't even catch one chicken. We failed at the personal challenge we had given ourselves.

The next day, Will (the guy in charge of all the farm chickens), needed a volunteer to help wrangle a bunch of chickens to move to a new pen. I jumped at the chance to redeem myself, and learn from a true chicken master. Here is what I learned about catching chickens:

1. You must get over being startled by the squaking, flapping of wings, etc. (get into a mental chicken zone)

2. You must corner the chicken in a coop, barn, corner etc. Chasing chickens in an open area is usually unsuccessful. They are quite fast runners.

3. Quickly grab the chicken by it's tail or feet and place it against your leg or side to prevent excessive wing flapping.

4. Grab chicken on both sides of it's body, penning the wings down.

5. Put chicken in desired area or take picture of self with chicken.

When we got back to the trailer later that afternoon I was excited to share my new skills with Chris. I noticed the chickens hanging out in the barn area and asked Chris if he wanted to see me catch some chickens. He looked skeptical and said yes. I proceeded to fluidly pluck 5 chickens from the barn and put them back in their pen. After watching, Chris managed to get 1 chicken to add to the pen as well. Later we decided to go for all of them and managed to collect all the chickens into the pen where they belonged. We were excited to accomplish something we had no idea how to do one day prior.

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