Chicken Problem


They live free from lust and fear and anger.¹

I waste resources taking precautions against what I fear and nothing happens. It is what I don’t anticipate that messes me up. For example, while walking Fred that half mile we usually take through the forest I stay within view of the path so I won’t get lost. I don’t think about the problems Fred has been having with those chickens whom I allow to range freely near the cabin and who torment him chained to his doghouse. So when I unchain Fred, out of kindness, because we are buddies and all, and I see him turn back up the path briefly looking at me with scorn, I realize that I’m an idiot.

By the time I get back, Fred’s anger resolved his chicken problem. He is gnawing on one of them when he sees me and begins part two of his plan for domination. He rushes into the cabin defending his castle growling and baring his teeth. At this point I guess I felt fear, but mainly it was anger which is what fear turns into when it doesn’t care any more. I kneel down bracing for his charge with the chain in one hand and the forefinger of my other hand touching the floor beside me, “Get your ass over here.”

Fred is smarter than most animals I’ve met including myself. He bowed his head and submissively accepted the chain.

follow forrest trail
trees prepare for new spring growth
winter dying’s past

Linked to dVerse Haibun Monday hosted by Toni Spencer with the topic fear.
¹A quote about fear is required. Mine comes from the Bhagavad Gita, Eknath Easwaran translator.
Linked to NaPoWriMo2017 Day Seventeen.
Photo: “V” by the author

Author: Frank Hubeny

I enjoy walking, poetry and short prose as well as taking pictures with my phone.

46 thoughts on “Chicken Problem”

  1. Poor Fred! But he is smart…or wise as the case may be. Much subtlety in your haibun and haiku. Beyond excellent in form and content. Makes me frightened – Fred is much smarter than most humans as he submissively submits to the chain.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. “At this point I guess I felt fear, but mainly it was anger which is what fear turns into when it doesn’t care any more.” -that line is dope as hell. Love it.

    Poor Fred. I felt your fear and anger… and I felt his as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Ah yes, the alpha struggle that is always beneath the surface. Have to be careful with Fred now, though. Once a dog starts killing chickens, there could be trouble ahead.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Fred went back to his original owner eventually. As I recall I had him for only a short while. There is more to the story. Once Fred was chained, I found that one chicken survived who could see everything that happened.


  4. I’ve often thought that all of the so-called negative emotions have their roots in fear including, of course, anger. I hope Fred and the chickens can find some way to coexist without too much more harm coming to either. Great story, Frank.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! The chickens did not survive Fred. Since he was not my dog, I don’t know what happened to him, but I am sure he did not survive the many decades that separate us from these events. What happens after survival I can only trust is good.


  5. I so enjoyed your anecdote, Frank and Fred sounds like a smart dog with personality. What a great way to describe your relationship with Fred: ‘ So when I unchain Fred, out of kindness, because we are buddies and all, and I see him turn back up the path briefly looking at me with scorn, I realize that I’m an idiot’ and the description of anger ‘which is what fear turns into when it doesn’t care any more’.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The chickens were not innocent. There were five of them including a rooster. Fred killed only four. One few to safety. She watched what happened. There is more to this story.


  6. “Anger is what fear turns into when it doesn’t care anymore” … great line! The chained dog and roaming chickens was a scenario ripe for disaster! Great story, Frank!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My only excuse for setting up that scenario was I was young and stupid. I did have a hen house designed for them, but I didn’t realize letting them run free everywhere, not just in a separate, fenced part of the yard, would cause so much trouble. Thanks, Bev!


  7. Frank for some reason my experience with dogs and chickens was different. I did lose a few chickens to newly adopted dogs…but now??? It’s a peaceful kingdom out there. The chickens come up on the porch and eat out of their bowls…which I would think a killing offense. It takes time and equal attention I think. Anger from fear…the turning point. I always suspected that apathy was just violence in the waiting. I think that true.

    Poor Fred….smart Fred, and poor chickens. Evocative and excellent haibun.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They should be able to get along. I probably did more things wrong than I realize. I even had trouble with the hens. The first rooster I lost by putting him in an enclosed pen with the four hens without any protection. I turned around and they had pecked him to death. The second rooster I put alone in a separate protected cage until the hens got used to him. The only lesson I’ve learned is that animals need to get used to each other. Once they do, it should be a peaceful kingdom, as you say. All of this happened decades ago.

      There is more to the story. One chicken survived Fred’s anger. What she did haunts me to this day. I’ll let Toni’s future haibun prompts guide how I will tell that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Frank! I can’t wait! sometimes our stupidity about the Animal World gets them killed, but we don’t do this on purpose. I’ve had some of the same issues….And yes, I have a young Rooster: Goofy, who was younger than my hens and they gave him hell for a while. Now? He’s cock of the roost. And really a very nice fellow. Beautiful, too. Chickens are very smart. If we let them roam the property they really demonstrate how inventive and intelligent they are. We had made what we thought was an obstacle course in their pen…the next day, they had destroyed it. LOL! It wasn’t up to their snuff. LOL!~ I now, as of yesterday, have two kittens…4-5 weeks old. Ugh. Nursing again. But they are gorgeous, beautiful and so much fun to watch. I rescued all of my 8 cats and then around Xmas, found a crippled young tom about a year old, and brought him home. He was a mess. Now? Willow had 6 weeks of cage rest and it was a broken pelvis. did massage and just rest. He’s beautiful and fine now. So we have 11 cats here, with their own cat room. LOL. I think I have to live longer because there is no one else to succor them. Thanks, Frank.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. You have a lot of animals, Jane! They are a good reason to live longer. Just like with your rooster, after a few hours of getting used to him, my hens accepted him without any further problem. It was mostly my stupidity that caused any of them harm. Chickens are very smart. They used to watch me work in the garden. When I looked up at them, they would quickly pretend they were busy doing something else. They knew the precise edge where Fred’s chain extended and walked up to it. Then they’d cross the edge and wait for Fred to jump at them. When he did they would turn, cackle, jump out of the way and wave their butts at him. It was funny watching them do that, and, for the record, I did tell them to stop teasing Fred. They also didn’t listen.


    1. There were four chickens and one rooster. Fred removed all but one chicken before I got back to the cabin. It is that last chicken around which all these haibun about Fred are ultimately focused. Thanks, Sreeja!


    1. I don’t blame Fred. Those chickens were teasing him. What amazed me (and amuses me in hindsight) was he seemed to have planned this out well in advance, getting me to take him further down the trail each time until the day he would execute his plan. He was quite ingenious. Thanks, Victoria!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. SMiLes Frank.. ya gotta love the Social
    hi·er·ar·chy of the Petting Zoo Animals..
    All Domesticated.. including Human and Dog
    same.. hehe.. except for those who are dominated
    of course
    by the
    alpha dog more
    NoW iN kind or cruel
    ways oN course with
    Due Love to continue
    providing Dog Chow to
    A Good Old Dog named Fred..
    namesake2 as i feel back in the
    Day that i also wore the Golden Short
    Chains and Cuffs of Government Work..
    truly.. IT IS A wonderful FeeLinG to BE
    A Alpha Dog.. NoW.. standing tall FReED..
    never now having or needing
    to heel.. no longer
    Fear of chains
    and cuffs
    Promises of retirement later on after hell..
    and do whatever we say now more.. then.. too..
    Or lose that Golden Pot of Rainbow.. then/now2..
    as it’s true.. Waiting on Heaven can Be A GreaTest
    Fear of aLL.. while serving no master but Free NoW..
    IS A Howling Good NoW.. aS long as Kibbles and Bits
    are served all up.. in my case.. by Dog Owner and Mastriss Katrina…;)

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh Frank! That is so funny….hens waving their butts at Fred. LOL! I know what you speak of. I think the hens are watching you when you garden because they are looking for any bugs you turn up. They are smart and resourceful. And yes, I have (too) many animals here….but so it goes. Most of my neighbors have none. And frankly? People are creepy to me who don’t have books or pictures on the walls of their houses. And that goes triple for those who don’t have animals as pets. And love and cherish them. Frankly, I retired early because I liked animals better than people. So I have to live longer. The supply is endless.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Those hens might have had a practical motivation. I was turning over soil. They may have also been curious and wanted to get to know me better. We have only one cat at the moment, but many plants and books and even pictures on the wall. Definitely, live longer.

      Liked by 1 person

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