I spotted them as soon as we turned out of the driveway, standing in the middle of the road.
"Look, are those turkeys?"
But even as I said it, I knew I was wrong. They were too small, too upright, their proud tails matching alert heads, making a V-shape of their bodies. Not turkeys. Chickens.
They shouldn't have been there. Where is this mythical land where free-range chickens roam happily through lush fields of green? Not anywhere around my house. Here, a free-range chicken is bait for foxes, raccoons, hawks, and dogs. Chickens have yards with wire tops and coops with doors that close securely.
"Maybe they escaped," I said hopefully. Wrong again. We'd stopped to watch them and the truth was obvious - all 5 were young roosters. My heart sank. Hens lay eggs, with or without roosters. In fact, better without them, since roosters have a one-track mind - procreation. They practice it vigorously, many times a day. No one needs a rooster, especially hens. These guys had been dumped.
I could leave them to their fate - it wouldn't take more than a day or two. Or if you prefer happy, Disney endings, they'd wander off toward home.
If they'd had anyplace to go, they would have gone, but they were there when we returned from town, and our neighbor said they'd been there 4 hours ago. Defintely lost. And guess who had an empty chicken coop going to waste? Me. Damn it.
Sigh. There's only one way to catch a chicken - with food. We set out a dog crate and sprinkled cracked corn inside. The hungry birds went for it. We got two, then another one, then came back once night had fallen to easily pluck the last two wary chickens from the bushes where they'd roosted. I now own 5 useless birds that no one else wants. Birds that will eventually grow long, sharp spurs and possibly use them against me. Great. You can imagine how I feel about the anonymous person who dumped their problem on me and my neighbors because they were too irresponsible to take care of the birds they'd raised.
Here are the handsome mug shots. My daughter named all five: Lucky, Lucky, Lucky, Lucky, and Lucky. Because they found me. I wish I felt more gracious about it. On the up side, my granddaughter will be thrilled.