In which one of the Minervas escapes and is (at last!) re-captured

We named all of the chickens Minerva Louise after the intrepid hen featured in a series of picture books by Janet Morgan Stoeke. In the stories, Minerva Louise, a sweet but clueless chicken, explores the world on her own terms, and always returns home safely by page 32. We thought that it would be a good name, with good omens attached.

All twelve chickens are called by the same name because, honestly, we usually can't tell them apart. Besides, when you shake the grain can and call "Minevera", they all show up. So, it works, right?

Recently, however, a chicken I will now call ML XII had a little adventure.
ML XII is a digger-outer. A few days ago, she dug her way out of the chicken tractor for a little walkabout, and injured her head in the process. She now has an ugly, featherless, scabby bald spot behind her comb.

Knowing the chickens will often peck an injured bird in their flock, and possibly peck it to death (chickens are not a compassionate group), we isolated ML XII in the FEMA tractor, which will henceforth be referred to as "Saint Henrietta's Hospital for Hens".

ML XII didn't like the isolation of St Hens, though. She dug herself out, and went walkabout again. Last night when we arrived home after work, St Hens was empty!

There really isn't much point in searching for a black hen in the woods in the dark (the moon was full and bright last night, but not THAT bright) so we went to bed figuring that she'd either show up for breakfast in the morning, or we'd find a pile of feathers indicating an owl kill.

In the morning, I immediately spotted a clue that ML XII wasn't dead.

Fiddle often has little brown birds roosting on her, but that's usually an afternoon phenomenon. These bird-poop streaks hadn't been there the night before when I fed horses.

I couldn't imagine my big bossy mare acting as overnight roost for a runaway chicken, but clearly they spent some time together. Hmmm.

Then I saw ML XII herself!

I rattled the grain can and called "Minerva!" She ran away at first, eager to preserve her newfound freedom, but the grain can is hard to resist.

I caught her.

Back at St Hens, which has upgraded security now (I put boards around the edges to discourage digging out).

Stay there, you silly bird! I mean it this time!


  1. LOL!! Love the names and the humor!! lol What a crazy chicken... poopin on the ponies back! They are certainly pretty hens!

  2. And here I thought "Minerva" was a BREED of chicken!
    Silly, hen!

  3. I love the chicken poop on the horse's back. Very funny evidence!

    We thought we lost our littlest chicken, Francoise, today. She was just gone! We let the chickens out of the run on weekends and for some reason they'd all gone back in... but Francoise was missing. We thought a cat must have been about and nabbed Francoise. We looked everywhere. Then, just when we were certain she was dead, up she came from the duck pond, happy as can be. We ended their free range freedom early and shut them up tight!

  4. That is so hilarious! The chicken pooping on Fiddle's back! Hopefully Minerva won't be getting out again.
    Thanks for the funny story!

  5. Sigh.

    ML XII was "free ranging" again this morning. I opened up the door to St Hens, threw some food in there, and she hopped inside.

    Sigh. At least she's easy to capture...I just hope the hawks don't discover that!

    I grabbed another Minerva from the big pen and threw her into St Hens as a companion--we'll see how THAT works.

    MOON: I'm laughing at your Francoise. She wanted to be the Wild Kiwi Hen of the World!

  6. God Chicken, these were some of the funniest posts yet! Chickens are good for a laugh all right. And I too couldn't figure out that you had NAMED them Minerva Louise... was that in an earlier post that I dis-remembered?
    Hopefully you solved the digging out/company issue, but I wonder since she obviously dug out from her sisters once already.
    And lastly, Fee is amazing. Little birds are one thing, but a big frickin chicken! Nice mare.


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