Pet Escalation

July 9, 2010

The Friendly Neighbors have an old cat, ducks, and quite a few chickens. Random Granddaughter and her mommies have Sylvie, the world’s most extroverted and adorable cat. After 44 years with no pets, Mrs. Random and I have three hens: Big Mama, Moll of the Bad attitude (who pecks our fingers frequently), and Little Peep, who is small,  spunky, and clucks to a different metronome than the rest of the flock.

I once complained about chickens not purring. However, they do have a sound that seems to fill a similar ecological niche: compelling humans to become their slaves. Every once in a while, our three hens will all freeze and make a little “chirring” sound. They all do it together; they all seem to be frozen (as if they are taking a little nap); and after a few minutes they will return to going about their business.

The other day, we heard them clucking in alarm. Looking up, I saw a large owl (I believe the variety is called “barred owl”) gazing speculatively at the chickens from a tall fir tree. It was watching the chickens intently. However, after a few minutes they stopped alarming.

Today, the owl landed on our bird feeder and later landed on our porch railing. Owls are probably mor e interested in chipmunks and squirrels than in birds. The chipmunks are pests who eat our strawberries and our peas. I will see if I can train the owl to eat a chipmunk out of my hand.

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4 Responses to “Pet Escalation”


  1. This reminds me of a bed & breakfast I stayed at in the Idaho mountains, which had, on the wooded property, a resident bobcat. The bobcat would simply stand at the foot of the tree where the innkeepers kept a bird feeder, and wait for the chipmunks to come steal from the feeder. Then he would pick up two or three for breakfast.

    “It’s like his own restaurant drive-thru,” the owner said cheerfully, as we witnessed this carnage from the breakfast room window.

    • modestypress Says:

      I have discussed with the Friendly Neighbors the possibility of marketing a line of “chip chips” made from dried chipmunks. The Mommies probably are not ready for Random Granddaughter to be a child star endorsing this product.

  2. teaspoon Says:

    I love the chirring noise that chickens make. It isn’t quite as good as purring, but it’s better than most noises that dogs make.


  3. Hi teaspoon!

    I presume that genetic engineering is working on a chicken that barks, a dog that purrs, and a cat that fetches and wags its tail.


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