Fowl play

about  Charles Darwin Reserve  
on 03 Feb 2015 

Once when we were staying at Charles Darwin Reserve (CDR) we forgot to lock up the chooks for the night. The daily plan was to let them out for a few hours in the late afternoon, then to close the chook yard gate in the early evening, as soon as they returned to roost for the night.

It was dusk and we'd already showered and prepared for the evening and a good night’s sleep. Then we remembered the chook yard gate. We picked up a torch and walked over to the yard in the cool evening air.

Sometimes a wayward chook would still be out scratching but a few pellets or vegetable leftovers would usually be enough to entice her home. Tonight however they were all well and truly in and were roosting in the chook shed. All but one, that is. Yes, we were one chook short!

This was serious. These birds were pets of the manager. There were only four and there should have been be five!

We closed the gate and looked around in the immediate vicinity but to no avail. We were distraught. There were foxes on the property and we were horrified at what fate might befall our adventurous escapee. We ran back to the donga, grabbed a couple of better torches and conducted a bigger search.

Still no luck and it was quite dark by this time. We then used the car and the torches to cover a large area of tracks and open paddocks. We called out, “Here chook, chook, chook” and sundry other useless phrases to try to entice her into view but it was not to be.

It was a long night as we slept intermittently, pondering her possible fate. At first light we were back at the yard to see if she had returned but no such luck.

“You go down that track, I'll go down this parallel one and we might find her,” I called out to Sandra. Only seconds later Sandra called out, “Quick, come and look at this.”

I rushed over to where she was and looked down the track where she was pointing. There, about 40m away, was our chook running (or was it waddling) straight towards us just as fast as her fat little legs could carry her. She continued straight past us without hesitation and ran directly to the chook yard gate, where we promptly let her in. The five of them gathered around and I'm sure they were swapping chook yarns, especially the now safe escapee, as she told excitedly of her night in the bush.

We were so relieved. When we told the managers on their return they roared with laughter to think that we had taken it all so seriously. We were greatly relieved and have remembered to close the chook yard gate ever since.

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