Once upon a time, in a CAFO far away, I became aware of myself.
"What the heck am I doing here in this wretched place!?" I bemoaned my wretched existence: crammed in a warehouse with thousands of other birds, our beaks chopped off so we couldn't peck at each other. I knew there must be something better.
One day I saw a light at the end of the tunnel - actually a hole in the warehouse. I peaked out. Sky! Grass! Bugs! Without a thought or a look back, I high-tailed it out of there.
I wandered outside soaking in my new freedom. But I couldn't wander around outside forever: surely someone would find me and put me in solitary confinement - or worse! So I hitched a ride out of there and ended up in the nearest city, Minneapolis.
Now, I know what you're thinking. Why would I go to the big city? I heard rumors that chickens are treated pretty well in the city and I wanted to check it out for myself.
I was milling around outside a tavern, trying to figure out what my next move would be, when a tall farmer-looking man came up and caught me. He was pretty good I must admit. Must have some experience chicken wrangling.
I was deposited into a large crate with lots of straw, water, and food. I didn't really like this captivity, but I guess it was better than where I came from.
After a few days, things changed. My crate was moved and the door was opened so I could get out and scratch in the dirt. I was now inside a bigger cage.
The best part was that there were others of my kind, right on the other side of my fence! Okay, so they tried to peck at me and tell me who was boss, but I ignored them. It was nice just having them around.
I missed my freedom though, so I kept finding ways to get out. One night I escaped and was trying to get comfy in a window well before I was found - and returned to my cage.
One day there was a really loud sound that kind of scared me so I escaped and ran for it! I was found a few yards away - and returned.
A couple nights in a row I escaped (and boy escaping is getting harder - they keep putting up more fencing, with smaller holes!) and I was trying to settle down way up high on top of the wood pile. But I was found - and returned.
I understand these folks are now calling me Houdini. That's fine with me - no one can keep me caged in for long! I've escaped seven times, and I'm just going to keep doing it.
I think these people are getting it. I escaped again last night and this time they didn't come looking for me. They let me stay out all night - to sleep where I wanted and rise with the sun to peck at bugs and scratch and eat greens.
But you know, I kind of missed my chicken friends, and the easy access to food and water. So I went back. And now I'm back in my cage again.
I'm sure this is only temporary. Some day I'll find a place to call my own and live happily ever after.
(with apologies to May Sarton, who wrote The Fur Person)