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Chicken Frogger

What follows is another “I sh!t you not” chronicle, from MY normal life…

We’ve (my company) been selling pullets for the last month or so… not the little Easter chicks that are adorable for two days, but full grown, egg laying hens that we’ve raised. We’ve (our drivers) delivered em all over to happy folk. 

The logistics of such gets a wee bit tricky sometimes so this week, due to that, I (not a real truck driver) volunteered to take some(one carrier) birds to south Arkansas. 
I go to the DC and my guy loads one of the commercial poultry carriers(the same ones stacked on the 18 wheelers), with my pullets, into my immaculately clean, Silverado.

Before I get on my way, my guy gives me a “catcher”, which is a long, heavy wire with a hook sort of end to it… you slip it over the birds ankle…I guess it’s an ankle… to pull them out so that you can pick them up.  It’s easy on the bird and the catcher although the bird actually screams what seriously sounds like an elderly lady saying “OWWWW” when you do it.  That part is comical. 

Anyhow…my guy says, “Good Luck,” we shake hands, and I’m on my way. 
Around an hour into this transport, everything is good.  The birds are huddled in tight and comfy and Al Green is playing on the radio. I’m daydreaming… hoping that the birds are calm when I get to where I’m going and easy to catch with my catcher. That was my Omen.

Moments later I hear an unmistakable metal clank sound. I turn Al Green down to figure out what it is. I look in my rear view mirror and just see the pullets… normal. What I couldn’t see was the top section of the five layers of the carrier, which was higher than the cab. 

I look in my side mirror…
There’s some sort of blizzard anomaly…well…hmmm…that’s NOT normal. It ain’t registering at first…wait…that’s a blizzard of feathers…weird…hmmm.

Then…I see one, two, ten, twenty beautiful Bovans Brown hens flying through the air. It was lovely…a Wizard of Oz moment…hmm… that’s kinda crazy…WTF????
Those are MINE. 

I’m on the five lane. I pull over, safely do a ‘U’-turn and head back. 
As I pull over onto the shoulder, I see a surreal image of these birds all over the interstate just walking around. They’re stretched out across five lanes by 100 yards or so. 

There IS traffic. Lots. And…lots of near misses going on. When a vehicle comes close, the birds drop down next to the pavement and shut their eyes…not what one expects but makes sense. 

I got a unique situation here to say the least. My customer is expecting a specific number of pullets, my boss’s name is on the sides of this pretty red truck, I don’t want to get killed by a semi, and I can’t just let the birds play Frogger. I gotta save ’em. 

Big trucks and cars are zooming by at 60-70mph. I take a deep breath and start catching birds. I got ’em by the legs, two in each hand. Back in the carrier. Back and forth. Over and over.  It’s going surprisingly well. 

BOOM…I look to my right and see the first vehicular homicide. Dammit boy. Can’t stop…grabbing more…another small boom…an attempted vehicular suicide of sorts. The bird tried to enter the black BMW but the door was shut and it was traveling around 60mph…too fast to do it safely. Shite. I didn’t make eye contact with the driver for obvious reasons. 

An ArDOT truck pulls up on the shoulder and folk start slowing down. Behind him, outta nowhere, comes one of them sweeping kinda trucks. That nice fella is sweeping the runaways toward me and the other nice fella that’s helping me at this point. Thank you Lord.

He’s got ’em on the run now. One runs right into a van with a family in it. They come to a stop. The bird is critically injured. Me being me, I pick up the bird by the neck to dispatch her quickly as to stop any suffering. As I’m ringing her neck and scanning for more runaways, I forget that the vehicle is stopped but instantly notice the horror on the family’s faces…wide eyed and hands covering their mouths like they’re watching Human Centipede…oh shite. I quickly cradle the bird in my right arm, like it’s resting normally and tenderly rub its head with my left hand, smile at the children and mouth “It’s fine…he’s ok…really.” Oh shite. 

We move on and catch the last bird which has flown up on the side of a rock wall. Whew. I thanked the great ArDOT guys for their help and waved as they drove away. I stood there, drinking a hot diet Mt. Dew, absolutely covered in feathers, dirt, egg yolk, blood and shite…thinking how lucky I was and how good that turned out.  I sh!t you not. 

We made it to our destination without a hitch.  The birds all have homes and are happy like me. If you see a YouTube video of something like this or see PETA trying to identify the old guy involved in the incident, keep it to yourself.

Silence is Gold. 
Y’all have a great week, be safe and kind. -MG

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