‘What a noise of squawking hens’

From our January 2013 issue

By Edna Ferguson – Victoria, B.C.

It was morning on grandfather’s farm. There wasn’t the usual happy chatter at the breakfast table. The wind had been blowing for two days and although it had eased up some, the air was full of dust.

It was seeding time, so uncle decided that in spite of the conditions, he would harness the horses and take to the field with the seeder.

He wasn’t too happy with the weather, but you couldn’t wait for the weatherman when you were a farmer with jobs to be done.

When he came in for lunch he said he had seen a coyote loping around in the field, but nothing more was said.

The workday ended and everyone was off to bed.

I woke up at the sound of uncle roaring down the stairs complaining bitterly with some choice words!

Commotion in the hen house

“I’ll bet it’s that dang coyote I saw today in the field. I’m taking my gun,” he said, as the door banged behind him.

Then, I knew what was happening because there was a terrible commotion going on in the chicken house. What a noise of squawking hens! It was still dark outside. Then, I heard a shot.

Uncle came in as “mad as a wet hen”. The wind had somehow blown the door open and the coyote had an easy entrance.

He said he had shot the gun in the direction the coyote was running with a squawking chicken in its mouth but only gave the coyote a good scare.

The next morning we went to see the damage in the chicken house. What a mess! There were feathers all over the place and two injured hens hiding in the corner and an indignant rooster giving us the eye.

If I remember correctly, we gathered only two eggs that day. I guess the hens were recovering from the visit of the night marauder.

Uncle must have scared the coyote because he was never seen again. A new and safer door was installed on the chicken yard and by the next day things were almost back to normal.

Even the wind took a day off from blowing the dust. Auntie’s wash was hanging white and motionless on the clothesline.