Just a chicken, yet a cool pet

Some may say it’s strange to have such feelings for a chicken and that’s okay, I am going to tell you about it anyway. Squockers wasn’t just a chicken, she was our pet. She had personality and made us laugh. Making the discovery that I did this morning, was upsetting. I am sad to say that Squockers is no longer with us.

It started as a typical morning – the boys left for work and right on cue, the cats started requesting breakfast. I let them carry on just long enough to not form a sense of entitlement and after my first cup of coffee, I went to feed all the animals like I do every morning. The cats rushed to their bowls, the dog to his, and the chicken… where’s Squockers, I wondered.

I walked out the back door thinking I would either find her over by her coup or in her favorite egg-laying spot – a small office trash can in the front yard – but on the steps down to our back yard I spotted a pile of red feathers. My heart sank. I rushed down the steps and frantically scanned the yard, halfway thinking I would find her close by with a clump of feathers missing off her backside or something, but then I saw it, another pile of feathers. From this second pile, a path of feathers led straight into the thick brush surrounding our lake. Tears welled up in my eyes and I felt like I was going to throw-up.

I knew that if I were to find her, I wouldn’t want to see her mangled, and if by some chance she were still alive, well I wouldn’t know what to do. It would be bad. At any rate, based on what I did find, I deduced that she became breakfast before she got her breakfast. Became breakfast for what though, that is the question I wondered about all day. It will never be answered. We have our suspects however, and they include an owl, hawk and otter. We also know bobcats and gators roam the area, so the list grows. I guess that’s how it goes – life – for me anyway, hers is over.

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Who would have thunk!

About six weeks ago, my son urged me with excitement to come outside and see his new pet that he had found. “Where did you find it?” I asked. “Out front,” was his reply. “Out front where?” “Just out front, come on!” So I followed him, having no idea what to expect and half-way wondering what in the world he was up to.

A frog? A turtle? Maybe a snake? No, he wouldn’t have the excitement he displayed over it, whatever it was. Amphibians and reptiles are a dime a dozen in our neck of the woods and we have captured our share over the past eighteen years here. Wouldn’t be a dog or cat either, we’re all a bit bummed when domestic pets get dumped; we can’t possibly save them all. So what did he find? I wondered, and out front? My mind couldn’t imagine.

David disappeared around the cherry hedge and reemerged holding a beautiful red chicken. “Oh my gosh!” I exclaimed. And I was surprised.

“It had to have come from somewhere,” I said, “I bet you a neighbor is missing it.” Of course, I had to be the buzz-kill.

Someone had to play the practical one though. I called the neighbors to see if they were missing a chicken and yes, they were. They had been having trouble keeping it confined in their yard with the other chickens; for some reason it kept getting out and they said we could have it if we wanted it.

So the boys built her a cozy little cottage and a couple of times a day she goes up on our front porch and lays an egg. Her name is “Squockers” and she gives us much more than eggs. She gives us laughs as she chases our ninety-pound pit bull away from where she’s foraging. She gives us esteem when she follows us around and won’t leave our side and she gives us love as a pet member of our family. A chicken – who would have thunk!

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