This is the third installment from my guest contributor, Heide Royer, AKA The Puerto Rican Poultry Princess. I hope you enjoy this bit of levity to punctuate some of the real trials and tribulations of keeping chickens.
“I love true crime, absolutely love it. I watch the Investigation Discovery channel religiously. I listen to a variety of podcasts such as Morbid, My Favorite Murd€r, and Generation Why. Most evenings, I’ve got a documentary going, learning the ins and outs of crime solving and delving into the minds of the world’s most twisted and vile offenders. I pursued criminal justice in college, using absolutely zero of that expensive knowledge in my career today. My parents are super proud they didn’t get to pay off their mortgage early.
Just because I didn’t end up being a prosecuting attorney, private investigator, federal agent or law enforcement doesn’t mean I’m not cut out for that line of work (there’s always Instagram), because I utilize what I learned in school and what I continue to learn through my true crime avenues when it comes to identifying predators or figuring out why one of my birds passed away. What kind of poultry related story would this be if it didn’t involve some kinda fowl creature or fowl play?
What happens though when there’s been a crime on my property and you can’t identify the body?
Cue ominous music here.
It was a cool February morning, and a thick wave of fresh snow blanketed the pasture, trees creaked and rocked slowly as frozen limbs battled to be set free from their icy masters.
I awoke to this majestic Thomas Kinkaid scenery and prepared to do chicken chores. Yeah, that’s where the glamor writing ends, folks. Nothing glamorous about slinging feed and dodging flying shi+ bombs past this point, so that was just my suck you in intro.
Stomping loudly in my muck boots as if I were personally trying to punish Mother Nature for leaving this awful powdery crap down on my Texas lawn, I finally reached the side gate. The latch on it was frozen so I had to try and break it loose while holding a large, overflowing bucket of chicken feed. It’s literally the most frustrating thing in the world to do outside of playing drunk Wordle and doing Jager shots for every missed letter — when I noticed something out in the field, laying motionless on top of the snow.
This is it. This is when it happens to me. This is my true crime story, but dear Lord, what is it? No, no, no. It’s one of my turkeys!!! Oh NO! NO! No! Nooooooooo! (Braveheart-type yell).
Mustering the strength of three Paul Bunyans, I break the ice from the latch with the feed bucket, swing open the gate wildly and now I’m booking it towards my fallen turkey as gracefully as a pregnant goat on rollerblades. These particular boots are made for mucking around, not f-king around, in the snow so I wasn’t able to get good traction to gain any real speed.
I forgot to mention that this particular morning I wasn’t wearing my glasses since it was so cold outside and all that ever does is steam them up when I wear my cold-weather head gear.
As I’m clop-clopping to the body in my muck boots at a low rate of speed. I’m also flop-flopping like crazy because I didn’t put an adequate bra on under my sweatshirt and coat. Picturing myself looking like a seal begging for fish snacks at Sea World, I tuned out this cacophonous sound (SAT words for 200, Alex) and focused solely (solely – see what I did there with the fishy reference?) on getting to my fallen bird.
I had almost reached the body when there was a great shift in the force and Mother Nature decided she wasn’t going to let me disrespect her any longer with my initial tantrum-throwing ground stomping, and she changed the terrain from snow to slippery mud in the blink of an eye.
Not quite the Girls Gone Wild mud wrestling ring I envisioned competing in as a college student, but the experience I’m sure would have been similar since I was all arms and no legs, flailing around madly trying to get my feet under me knowing that with each failed attempt, my turkey was probably breathing its final breath and wouldn’t be able to give me any clues as to who or what was responsible for its untimely demise.
I glanced up slowly from the ground and realized the body was crawling away from me and making its final death gasps, or was it?
I squinted my frozen eyes as tightly as I possibly could to focus my vision a bit more and noticed that my fallen winged angel wasn’t my turkey after all, but a brown feed bag that had blown out into the pasture from the high winds the night before.
Simultaneously I burst out into tears and laughter – crying from relief that it wasn’t my bird and laughing because of my complete failure to assess the real situation beforehand and just flew into my own version of Rescue Fly11. I managed to get up, grab the feed bag corpse and walk back to the house, but not before letting the turkeys out and, of course, doing a head count to make sure everyone was truly alright.
So for now I think I will leave the real crime solving to the experts and continue drawing pretty pictures and writing funny tales of poultry woes for all who manage to make it to the end of these stories.
Wear your glasses. Wear your bras. And for the love of God, recycle. It’s a life-saver.”
Love and quiches to all and to all a good night.
Bio: Heide Royer is the artist behind Heidinmyworld of Art. Her creative passion lies within the animal world and is expressed through her visually compelling artwork. She is also an aspiring writer telling stories of her chicken farm life in a new book entitled “All Cooped Up – My Life with Chickens During A Pandemic”, filled with crazy antics and a lot of fowl play. It’s sure to bring laughter to any poultry loving household.