Laura Zoeller

Column Laura Zoeller

Laura Zoeller is a farm wife and mother who has been blessed with a wonderful and funny - life.

Nobody here but us chickens

August 11, 2014

At about ten minutes before 5 a.m. Friday, while the sky was still covered by darkness, I was awakened from the best night’s sleep I had gotten in several days by my husband asking me what the noise he was hearing was.

Having no idea whatsoever what he was talking about – and caring even less – I fear that I may have responded in a less than civil manner.

Undeterred, he asked me again. Reluctantly, I sat up and tried to listen. Sure enough, there was quite a commotion coming out of our chicken coop.

“Do you want me to go look,” I asked.

“One of us probably should,” he replied.

My initial reaction was to tell him that whoever heard the noise should investigate the noise, but I refrained since that would have made my ratio of kindness to snarkiness for the day even further subpar.

Instead, I got up and silently walked downstairs.

I threw a flannel shirt over my nightgown and located my boots. I didn’t bother to lace them up, instead settling for tucking the strings down inside before I walked out the door.

About halfway across the yard, I woke up enough to consider the very real possibility that there could be a wild animal in the coop and began to look for a stick or a baseball bat or something that I could wield in case of emergency. (Where are all of those kids toys I’m constantly yelling about being in the yard? What, did they decide yesterday to start listening to me all of a sudden?)

Nearly there, I saw what I thought was a pitchfork leaning against our fire ring, so I walked over and grabbed it. A grass rake? Why is there a grass rake out here? I’ll have to speak to the kids about properly putting away … oh, right. Maybe another time.

I stealthily climbed the steps to the coop, completely expecting to see raccoons and foxes and weasels (oh, my) come zooming out, leaving a trail of feathers flying in their wake. Instead, I saw …


There was absolutely nothing in the coop except for our two dozen Rhode Island Reds, most of whom were still roosting comfortably. There were no wild animals, and no flying feathers.

They were squawking and making a noise that was similar to a growl, but seemed to be perfectly content in doing it.

In fact, the din only stopped once I walked completely inside to check all of the corners for something hiding in the shadows. They even seemed to start staring at me as if I was disturbing their symphony.

Finally satisfied that no harm was coming to my girls, I walked back to the house.

Of course, I traveled by way of the garage. I still had that rake in hand, after all, and those kids apparently still need help putting things away.

Laura Zoeller can be reached at



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