I unlatched the hen house door to let the birds out for the day. Then I filled water basins for my chickens, honeybees, and farmette wildlife. Finally, with chores done, I returned to the farmhouse to work on my new book.



Rhode Island Red hen in the foreground

Rhode Island Red hen in the foreground




Lost in a tense winter scene for novel number three, I wrote until I heard the chickens cackling as they do when they lay an egg or are frustrated because they can’t get the nesting box already occupied by another hen. And of late, that happens often because one of my Wyandotte chickens has gone broody. She’s sitting on two dozen eggs and it’s futile since we don’t have a rooster. Those eggs will never hatch.



As the cackle grew louder. I stopped typing to peer out the window next to my desk. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, but on the off chance that a skunk, fox, chicken hawk, or other predator had invaded the yard or the hen house, I got up. I had to check.



By now the cackle had become deafening. I thought the chicken might be at the back door. As I turned from my computer to walk down the hall past my bedroom, I saw my Rhode Island Red directly in my path. Her cackle could wake the dead. So why was she making such a ruckus.



Then I saw it–a dollop of chicken poop on my new hardwood floor. She must have known I’d be furious. And she’d been trying to tell me something. I swooped her up and carried her outside, making a mental note to always check the door on the farmhouse. My office is no place for a chicken.



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