The Hen House

They have been living together now for about 3 years on a beautiful small hobby farm on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, Canada. They all get along great together, except for the occasional spat with regards to food, sleeping space and egg laying duties.  Elsa is a young girl who is in charge of the operational and administration duties that go along with caring for this feathery flock of fourteen.  She has even named each and every resident who lives in the house. The one named “Eggs”, assumed the position of being the “Head Hen”, over Boots, Scarlett, Blacky, Chip, Speckle, Penny, Rosy, Pip, Cora, Peach, Minerva, Chicky and Snowy.  They are very lucky to have someone like Elsa looking after them. Their house is a well built home with a recreation area and a network of free range trails built by Elsa’s dad.

          This morning was just like any other beautiful mid August day.  The birds were singing, a warm breeze was blowing and the whole flock was out of the house enjoying the sunshine. They were walking the trails, nibbling at the garden, working out in the recreation area or just discussing current affairs with each other.

 Even Elsa’s dog “Milly” came over to check out what was for breakfast, but was quickly chased away with a few pecks on her nose after attempting to test some of the chicken’s food.

          In the late afternoon, Elsa came out to collect the eggs and talk to her buddies for awhile.  She thanked the gang for another dozen as she carefully placed them in a carton and made her way back into the house.  Just before she went inside she glanced over towards the mountains and noticed a huge black cloud slowly approaching and felt the wind pick up a bit. 

          As she brought the eggs into the kitchen she got a glimpse of a flash of lightning off in the distance.  Her dad mentioned there could be a bad storm coming tonight?  At about 7:00pm Milly decided to visit again to see what she could find for dessert as she had just finished dinner.  When she was half way across the yard a huge crash of thunder roared and vibrated the entire yard.  Milly cancelled dessert plans and ran quickly into her dog house to hide.  The wind got stronger and the rain began to pelt down heavily.  A few small branches were now breaking from the trees and floating down to the ground.  The entire sky was now black and there was a weird eerie and unpleasant feeling in the air.  Elsa and her family looked out the kitchen window towards the hen house as Elsa’s friends looked back at them in fear and uncertainty.  Then Elsa’s dad said, “Don’t worry about your buddies Elsa, they will be fine as soon as they go into their house.  I built it strong and it will protect them from any wind, rain or anything else mother nature can throw at it!” 

          Elsa’s dad had made the entrance door to the hen house open and close automatically depending on light conditions. In the summer it usually opens at about 7:00am and closes about 9:30pm, but tonight with the stormy conditions it may begin to close earlier.  Some had already gone inside to seek shelter, but some remained in the recreation area to have a final bedtime snack.  The rain was bringing out worms and other insects so it was an unexpected eating opportunity.

          At about 9:00pm it was getting dark and the wind was still howling with rain bouncing off the ground and back skyward!  Eggs walked to the door and called out to the ones in the recreation area who were eating worms. “Hey guys, time to come in, the door will be closing soon, come on in now!”  “Ok” yelled Penny and Minerva with a mouth full of worms. Everyone was now safely in the house except for Cora who was wrestling with a huge juicy worm.

           Then suddenly the automatic door started closing!  Eggs yelled out, “Hurry Cora”, “Penny, put your foot under the door to keep it open until Cora can get back in” “Ok” said Penny, in a disgusted manner.  The door came down on Penny’s foot, she lifted the door up slightly as Cora crawled back into the house sideways.  “Thanks Penny” said Cora.  “You are Welcome, but now my pedicure on my toe is wrecked, I have one blue toe where the door squished it and the rest are red.”  “Oh Well, at least everyone is in the house safe and sound,” said Eggs.  Eggs turned on a small battery powered light which lit up the inside of the house.  Most everyone had now finished dinner and were just hanging out, sitting on the perch or wandering around on the floor looking for any left over food   

          Then Eggs said, “It sounds like the wind and rain have let up a bit so we might all be able to get a good sleep tonight?”  Then Chip said, “Ya right, if Minerva and Scarlet don’t snore too loud!”  “You can’t talk Chip, I heard you farting last night, and the stink almost drove us all out of here!” said Minerva. “Hey Pip and Peach, no gymnastics on the perch while others are sleeping please, you guys almost nailed me in the head doing your double back flips” said Speckle. “And no singing in your sleep Chicky or Snowy, you were off key and forgot most of the words to the songs you were trying to sing.” said Boots.  “How did you sleep last night Rosy?” asked Eggs. “Great, I dreamt I was on a cruise ship sleeping on the deck with the fresh smell of water and gentle waves rocking me to sleep under a star lit night.”  Then Blacky said, “Me, Peach, Pip and Speckle were reading an article we saw in the “Pacific Poultry Press” Magazine, in which they were advertising for talent to perform on a number of cruise ships.  They were looking for unique acts, like us dancing, doing magic illusion acts, or big band performances by an all poultry musical group.  All accepted performers would receive free meals, lodging and a $100.00 on board voucher to spend while on the ship. Maybe we should all practice and apply for the gig?” “It is definitely something to keep in mind for the future Blacky,” said Eggs.  “You realize we are under somewhat of a contract here at Elsa’s place for the next little while, but she may give us some time off if we do get accepted for a working cruise holiday?”

          “Ok guys, I think it is time to shut her down for the night, you egg layers need your sleep to keep Elsa happy tomorrow.  Sounds like the rain has started to come down hard again!”  Then there were a couple of big gusts of wind that rocked the hen house! “Get up on your perch or snuggle down on the floor, Good Night Everyone,” said Eggs. Then the flashlight was turned off and darkness took over the hen house. The rest of the crew all said, “Good night Eggs, have a good one.”  It then got real quiet except for the pounding of the rain on the roof and now distant thunder and occasional flash of lightning.  Then Suddenly Cora hollered, “HEY, Rosy, did you just pee on my head?”  “No, I didn’t,” said Rosy as she stretched out on the perch and looked down at Cora.  Then Rosy looked up at the ceiling and got a drop of water in her eye. “Oh, oh, I think we have a leak in the roof or the wind is blowing the rain up under it and it is dripping down?” said Rosy.  “Ok, sorry Rosy, I thought maybe you had too much to drink tonight or something, we will have to tell Elsa’s dad about it tomorrow morning, Good Night.” said Cora.  Then everyone fell asleep. It was now 1:30am. For the next few hours in the hen house all you could hear was heavy breathing, the occasional fart, someone singing a bit off key and a little snoring.  Then it happened!

          Suddenly the ground started shaking, rocking the hen house back and forth, it woke up Eggs who yelled out, “Quit jumping up and down and get to sleep guys!” But suddenly she realized it was not anyone jumping, it was something else.  Then there was a deafening Roar and a Bang knocking everyone off the perch and onto the floor, feathers flying and bodies rolling all over each other.  Everyone was knocked unconscious momentarily as the hen house took flight.  Next thing they knew they were floating on a near by lake in their hen house.  Minutes later Eggs woke up and looked around.  She was bruised but seemed ok. She immediately checked on every one else as they all slowly recovered. “Hey guys, is everyone ok?” asked Eggs.  After a few minutes everyone was accounted for and seemed dazed and in shock but otherwise fine.

 Minerva quietly asked, “What the heck just happened?”

 Eggs then said “I am not sure but I think we just got hit by a Tornado or some other kind of violent wind storm, it ripped us off our foundation and carried us over the hill and dropped us into a lake. As you can see our house is slowly being filled with water, so we have to get out of here, but at least we are floating for now.  I think if we can open the egg laying compartment and escape out of there we can climb onto the roof.  We should be ok for awhile up there until we get rescued.  Let’s go slowly, you go first Scarlett.”  Scarlett managed to pry open the egg compartment door.

Minerva held it open while Scarlett climbed out and then the others followed.  Eggs was the last one out as she checked to make sure everyone else was out safely.

          It was now 7:30am and the sun was up and there were people on the beach. The storm was over.  The people had witnessed our less than gracious landing onto the lake and had called the fire rescue department to assist us.  Within 30 minutes of cruising on the lake we were towed to shore and given warm blankets and a hot beverage to sip on.  The ambulance also attended along with the SPCA who also treated us for shock and some minor scrapes and bruises.

          Just then we saw Elsa’s dad and Elsa drive up and they came running to check on us.  Elsa gave us all a big hug and started crying because she was so happy to see us alive and not too badly injured.  We all started to get emotional too and couldn’t stop hugging each other. Once everyone settled down Elsa’s dad told us to jump into the back seat of his truck to keep warm.  Elsa covered us with a warm blanket.  Just then Eggs noticed Minerva wasn’t in the truck.  Eggs then said, “Hey, has anyone seen Minerva? Last I saw she was clinging onto the top of the roof on the hen house when a big wave came from a boat that came to check on us.”  All the others said, No, they hadn’t seen her since she climbed on top of the roof. Suddenly celebrations of happiness turned to heart break and fear that maybe Minerva slipped off the roof and drowned.  Elsa’s dad immediately alerted Search and Rescue who were on scene to look for Minerva out where the hen house was last seen floating in the lake.  Everyone then crowded down by the shore and scanned the water to look for Minerva. Then Elsa’s dad spotted what he thought was a white rag floating just below the water about 10 feet off shore. Suddenly this suspected white rag popped up to the surface and shook its wings. It was Minerva and she had a small fish in her mouth, chewing it as she made her way to the beach.  Elsa screamed with excitement, ran part way into the lake and picked up Minerva and hugged her tightly. Elsa said, “You little devil, you had us all worried, did all the excitement make you hungry so that you had to do a little fishing?”  Then everyone piled back into Elsa’s dads truck.  Elsa counted all her buddies and confirmed everyone was accounted for now.  They then drove to Elsa’s house where she made them a nice comfortable place to sleep in the basement.

          We all glanced in the direction of where our hen house was and all that was left was a hole in the ground. Penny then said, “Elsa, your dad sure knows how to build a solid indestructible (flying) hen house.”

Soon everyone fell asleep, exhausted and still in semi shock from what had just happened.  But just before they went to sleep Eggs said, “Well I guess we just had our cruise and didn’t even have to perform in any talent show!”  The others looked at Eggs, rolled their eyes back and said, “Yeh right, nice try.”