SO i got an "A" on this paper. . . college level i'm so frikkin proud i just wanted to see what you guys thought. . . Code: Michael Lewis English 131-20 October 5th, 2010 Paper #2 Draft #2 The Escape of the Chickens Chickens are a delicious bird. They can be fried, grilled, pickled, baked, and pretty much any other form of cooking. But they are NOT pets. Chickens may look all cute and clean when they’re chicks, but when they grow up, they don‘t even resemble anything clean or cute. These birds are noisy, mean, and extremely dirty. I’m sure you’re sitting there saying to yourself, “Why did he live with chickens?” Well, that’s pretty easily explainable. My family has been raising chickens for years and years, even before I was born. They would order a bunch of chickens in the mail, yes you can do that, and hatch them out in an old incubator. Once they were hatched, we would put them in a large old bathtub in our basement until they were about three weeks old. After they had some feathers and were about half the size of a fully grown chicken, we would place them in our banny house. A smaller chicken house for growing a large group of young chickens. Then after they were big enough we would simply herd them over into our large chicken house. But this year was different, our banny house had been badly damaged during a vicious winter storm. My father thought that he’d be able to fix it before it was time to move the chickens into the house. Unfortunately, he had to do a lot more work than he’d anticipated. So we had a large number of baby chickens in our basement, packed into a bathtub like sardines. We felt we couldn’t leave them in there, so we built a 10x10 wooden pen in the back room of our basement. So there they were, a flock of, say, twenty chickens, all flopping and clucking about. In our house, and we had no idea how terrible it would be. . . Those chickens were the noisiest birds I’d ever heard. If you’d have compared them to a building being demolished, the chickens would have been louder. Night after night we were kept awake by the constant squawking and scraping they made. But on the third week they were in the wooden pen, the roosters became obvious. Now there’s a popular belief that roosters crow at sunrise and sunset, but this is a load of crap. Roosters crow all day and half the night, the other half of the night is spent charging their voices up for the next day full of crowing. And for some reason they always dim down the rooster’s voice in movies and commercials when they have them crow. You can take it from me that they are not at all dimmed down. Their crows are loud enough that we got a noise complain from David Acres almost two miles away. But even as loud as they may be, their aggression is overwhelming. I’m not sure if it was just this batch of chickens, but they were the meanest birds I’d ever encountered, even meaner than a blue jay I met with when I was ten. When I’d been walking along a trail in the woods during spring, when I heard a loud cawing, almost like a crow. I looked around confusedly as it grew louder and louder. And all of a sudden, a huge blue jay dove out of the sky and hit me on the head. It continued to chase me and attack my head for almost a minute until I got out of it’s territory. These chickens though were too clever for a full on attack. They would stand around staring at me as you walked into their pen, bravely standing their ground against me, no one could have called them “chickens.” And after I’d closed the little gate on the pen they would go crazy, they would run around like mad birds, bouncing off of my legs, pecking my hands if I reached down for the eggs, spurring me in the calf of the leg in the case of the roosters. At one point, I thought about just hauling off and kicking the roosters away as they assaulted my poor scarred legs. But unfortunately my passive nature wouldn’t permit me to hurt the little things, and so the attacks continued. As a matter of fact, they reminded me of Lord of the Rings, when all of the little soldiers were trying to fight off the mammoth things. They would run at it, jump up and down around it, poking it with their little weapons and then scream and yell when they got stepped on. Along with all of the noise and aggression, these birds were the dirtiest chickens I’d seen. They would run around wildly after you placed their waterer in their pen. Bouncing from wall to wall, ramming one another until one of them hit the chicken waterer just hard enough to make it spill over and soak the already muddy floor with five gallons of fresh (not after it was on the floor) water. Then they would all run through it and track up the rest of their pen, mixing water with the disgusting mix of chicken debris. At one point, they found a breach in the defense of their wooden pen. I was woken by the sound of scratching right under my bed at roughly midnight. At first I thought it was my cat tearing up the carpet. So I jumped up and looked under the bed. But for some reason there was nothing there. I heard the scratching sound again, this time I knew where to look for the culprit. I ran into the kitchen and grabbed a flashlight. By this time I could hear the clucking of chickens as they wandered around downstairs. I walked calmly over to the top of our basement stairs and opened the door, to be met with the most awful smell you could imagine. I flicked on the flashlight and shone it into the darkness. I immediately saw a small group of four or five chickens on the top stair eating our of a torn up bag of dog food. Not one flinched when they saw me. So I just walked by and started down the stairs. They had done quite a number on the place. There had once been a bunch of junk on the edges of the stairs, this was all gone, and looking ahead, I could see it all at the bottom of the staircase. As I got down, I turned the light switch on and saw the damage. The clothesbaskets were upturned and clothes were scattered about, all covered in chicken waste. The birds themselves were roosted in the piped above my head, looking down at me as I walked by like little demons, hiding in the dark crevices just waiting to leap down on me. I made it to the pen at last and discovered a small hole in the corner. So, being as tired as I was, I just kicked a box of canning jars in front of it and began picking up chickens. I would walk along until I came upon a tired bird, pick it up, and put it under my arm so I could pick up another one and carry them both back to the pen where I gently sat them on their roost. At last I got to bed, and I slept soundly for the rest of the night too. Fortunately, after almost five months of non-stop chickens in our basement, we were able to move them to our chicken house. Where they were content to stay, forcibly or not. When we got home we got our first night’s good sleep for almost a half a year. But our basement still smells like chickens and our desire to raise another batch of the little monsters has been doused. We had to throw away a bunch of clothes as well, they were completely ruined, covered in chicken feces, they had been stained beyond recognition. It also turns out that the night the chickens got out, one or two of them made their way into the clothes chute and managed to gain access to the house. We found them two days later in our game room roosted on our mantle above the fireplace. They had been living off of a bag of rabbit food we’d had stored in there for use when we ran out of the other bag. Those two were the fattest little chickens I’d seen before. They must have eaten a quarter of the fifty pound bag. But we got their mess cleaned up and we laugh about the incident now. Especially the night they escaped.