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An owner of several chickens came home to find this new addition.

You never know eggs-actly what to expect on the quirky side of Mooresville.

When we moved into a house near Mooresville High School several years ago, we learned that surprises were really no surprise.

Friday-night lights from football games and marching-band music flooded our backyard. The mail carrier, Andy, turned out to be an old friend of mine from years ago. There were flickering lights and odd occurrences in our old, badly-wired house, which we attributed to the ghost of the original owner, “Cecil.”

Herds of deer scampered through our yard, a coyote showed up sauntering down the middle of the street, a wild turkey perched in the oak tree over our heads, and an owl swooped down on my German shepherd, Ritzy.

But this text message from my friend Dana across the street recently was indeed the strangest Mooresville surprise I’d had yet.

“Hey Beth!” she wrote. “Crazy question, but did you by chance see anyone pull over and throw a chicken in my backyard yesterday?”

Dana is the proud owner of a lovely brood of chickens – two Rhode Island Reds, two Plymouth Rocks, a Black Asian and two Bantams – that she purchased over the last year at Tractor Supply. Her children also gave her two Peking ducks.

Working from home, I am at the ready as a chicken-wrangler when her fowl run afoul by escaping through a gate blown open by the wind, or when wings that had been clipped re-grow and they are able to fly out of her enclosed backyard.

However, the other day when a beautiful Americana chicken showed up in her backyard, I answered her question the best I could.

“That’s crazy! I heard a lot of squawking, but didn’t see anything,” I texted back.

Then I thanked her for the fresh eggs she left on my front porch, which she does from time to time.

“She’s pretty, but what the heck?” she responded. “I guess I have a new pet.”

I suggested that maybe word had gotten out that she was a great chicken parent. She agreed, but said she was glad it was just one more. Her water bill has gone up considerably since her feathered friends moved in.

While she is building a new home on 8 acres of wooded land near Winston-Salem, she also plans to build a large coop with an expansive fenced-in area to combat would-be predators like coyotes.

I will miss them when they go. All of them. Her bright smile and purposeful gate when she walks, her son rehearsing his saxophone when the windows are open during the nice weather, lulling my dog to sleep, and of course, the chicken-chasing that breaks up the monotony of my day and makes me feel like Rocky training for the big fight.

But again, this is Mooresville. You never know what surprise my new neighbors are going to have in store.

Elizabeth Durocher is a freelance writer.

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