This morning, Greer knocked on the bathroom window from outside and told me I needed to come out right away. (The day before, Ethel had somehow jumped over a partition fence the yard, so she’d missed getting locked into the coop with the other girls that night by our chicken sitters. I guess she had an overnight “camp out” by herself… she seemed to be fine, and was, although she was much hungrier than usual.)
At any rate, I quickly put on my big, comfy, hotel-style bathrobe and ran outside. Immediately, the chickens started freaking out. They were squawking and running around like they were in mortal danger. We scanned the sky and didn’t see any hawks, and Greer checked the alley for cats. I tried to comfort them to no avail. They were even jumping up at the fences and gates as if they wanted to push their way over. (Ethel was unaffected by all this, just doing her morning hunting routine, including eating a salamander.)
I went to the fridge to take out our road trip leftovers for them to share. I noticed that they would come over and eat out of my hand when I crouched down to feed them with no problem, but as soon as I stood up, they scattered in terror. I thought they were just extra skittish from being without Ethel for the night, or possibly from seeing a hawk early in the morning that we hadn’t seen.
Finally, on my drive to work, I realized that they were afraid of me. Well, to be more specific, they were afraid of my big, flappy bath robe. They are very afraid of the bike rack, because it has long flapping straps on it. My robe is similar, and I can see how it might make me look like a giant bird of prey to a chicken. So, in all my efforts to calm them down that morning, it was actually my fault that they were so upset. I guess that will teach me to go outside in my bathrobe!