The story below is an excerpt from our March/April 2016 issue. For the rest of this story and more like it subscribe today, log in to read our digital edition or download our FREE iOS app. Thank you!
What happens when the boy brings home a little harem of eight turkey hens? Well, a moment of Hefnerhood perhaps, followed, inevitably, by reality.
My friend Amelia is as crazy about birds as I am. I am biding my time in getting an adorable chicken coop and a proper flock, but Amelia jumped on the poultry bandwagon with unrestrained enthusiasm.
Amelia has a huge hen house and a permanent flock of about 60 birds. Her Maran chickens and their chocolate brown eggs are champions at regional poultry competitions. She has a variety of ducks and chickens that are perpetual residents as well as dozens of chickens and turkeys that live there temporarily until they go off to Freezer Camp. (She calls it Freezer Camp so the rest of the flock does not get suspicious.) Presiding over all of this is the magnificent Kevin, a territorial tyrant. Kevin is a large and shockingly loud peacock.
Kevin perceives the property as his exclusive kingdom and woe be to strangers who dare trespass. You should see the expressions on a car full of young door-to-door missionaries when Kevin lands on their hood like a load of bricks, squawking and giving them the stink eye. Kevin is one loud, obnoxious, opinionated bird and doesn’t mind letting everyone know it. He is also one of the best security guards I know.
Sadly, Kevin is getting on in years. He’s not quite as agile as he once was. He tries to make up for the slower pace with more noise and so far that’s been working for him. Yes, Kevin is truly a member of the family, though often he’s more crazy uncle than kindly patriarch.
You can imagine how heartbroken Amelia was the day Kevin went missing. Kevin was known to wander a little but was always home by dusk. Night came and went and no sign of Kevin. Coyotes had been spotted in the area recently, so Amelia assumed the worst. Could it be that Kevin had finally lost a fight? Amelia called for him every night before locking the doors to the poultry palace but Kevin didn’t answer. Three days passed and Amelia was mourning her big bird.
It’s hard to put a positive spin on a three-day absence. It’s not like Kevin had the means to hit the beach for a long weekend. It really looked like he was a goner, no matter how much we all hoped for the best. Amelia was washing dishes one afternoon when out the kitchen window she noticed movement near the poultry house. She feared that without Kevin on duty, a fox was raiding the hen house. But wait, was that a flash of blue? Could it be?