Backyard Battle Royal

by Stefani on 29-July-2008

Our dear sweet Papa treated me this afternoon to a little alone time. He came in from his office, declared that it was “pool time!!!!” and after much squealing and pushing and “mama where’s my swimsuit”, “honey, don’t forget the sunscreen.” giggling and door-slamming they were off. 

The house was blissfully quiet. 

I got myself a popsicle, and prepared to sit (SIT!) and just surf and write and listen to all my backed up episodes of This American Life when out on the lawn there arose such a clatter… 

Chickens were squawking in a way that even an untrained poulty farmer like myself recognized as, “COME QUICK!”

This, friends, is what I saw:  

Dillos at the Watering Hole

Remember Matilda? She’s a tricky one, that old gal. I hadn’t seen hide nor hair of her since that first time, and had long since given up on her. 

Turns out she’s been around all along, and has four young-uns now. 

Good heavens. 

As appalled as I was though, watching them tear up the grass, it was nothing compared to the complete and utter horror expressed by my gals. 

Oh how I wish you could hear the clucking. It sounded something like,

 “Have you ever?”

“Not in all my born days!”

“Well there goes the neighborhood.”

“It isn’t bad enough that we have to put up with boys chasing us all day? Now we have to share the yard with these no good punks too?”

“What has the yard come to?”

Every now and again, one of the girls would gather herself up and run at the armadillos, her sisters squawking and flapping her on. 

You There, SCRAM!

And then just as she got near the snorting hard-shelled masses, she’d  turn tail, and run back to her posse, swearing under her breath. It was like a real live game of chicken!

The girls would huddle up again, drawing their feathery petticoats about them, discuss things over and send a new spokeswoman in to tell the miscreants to hit the road. 

Have You EVER?

The armadillos, like rowdy teenagers skateboarding in the parking lot of the BINGO hall, could not have cared less what the old biddies thought of them or their fun. They burrowed and snorted on. 

This went on for quite some time until finally, apparently, the last straw was laid down. 

All four armadillo backsides where turned toward the ladies in unison. Then, one unceremoniously flipped shell and showed the old gals his boy bits. 

Dillo Moon

My girls, shocked out of their bird brains, marched off in a ruffled huff and spent the rest of the afternoon clucking their disapproval from the bushes.

You Know What? Chicken Butt.

I spent the rest of the afternoon looking into live traps. 

So much for peace and quiet. 
Kim July 29, 2008 at 7:34 pm

i have never seen such things. i know nothing about these creatures you call armadillos. ill have to read up. omigoodness. LOL though.

Amy July 29, 2008 at 7:39 pm

That is hilarious! I love that you have photos to go with the whole story.

They are funny little creatures, aren’t they? Like the skateboard punks of the Animal Kingdom.

Cathi July 29, 2008 at 7:45 pm

This is amazing. I couldn’t stop laughing. What odd little creatures!

gonzomama July 29, 2008 at 7:58 pm

that is the funniest thing i have read in a long time! you are brilliant.
also those girls of yours are beauties.

(i love this american life, i always catch up in the evenings when knitting)

Stephanie July 29, 2008 at 8:03 pm

What a tail, er TALE! lol

I see a children’s book in this, Stefani.

Corynne Escalante July 29, 2008 at 8:20 pm

that is incredible! i have never seen a real live armadillo before! that is really amazing that they are just in your back yard! good story…

kristin at prairie daze July 29, 2008 at 8:32 pm

no way!

so, showing me dear hubby here, he says, yeah…did you know they always have quadruplets?

i didn’t know that.

did you?

abbigail July 29, 2008 at 8:48 pm

good lord, if i saw those in kentucky back yard, I would have thought they were aliens.

Cassandra July 29, 2008 at 9:13 pm

Wow. I’ve never seen the likes of those (the armadillos, not the chickens…we’ve got chickens a plenty in Idaho.) What a fantastic live show!

The Mommy July 29, 2008 at 9:43 pm

I’ve never seen armadillos in person, but I do have chickens…about 50 of them, and I know how they can get when they’re not happy!

Amber July 29, 2008 at 9:47 pm

Oh my gosh – this is so hilarious! Love the photos and the story (those rowdy armadillos!).

mountain mama July 29, 2008 at 9:50 pm

Too clever! This made me laugh!! The voices you gave those chickens fit perfectly!! “old biddies”!! hahaha!! Love it!

I hope there will be another edition of Armadillos VS Chickens soon.. or at least Armadillos VS Stefani!

Mary Smith July 29, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Mark and I just got back from a trip and were reading this post and laughing and laughing together. Mark said, “How does she live a life that funny!?” That’s the first time I’ve ever seen armadillos! (Well, maybe I saw them in a zoo sometime too). Thanks for the superb writing and a great laugh!

Mary Smith July 29, 2008 at 10:09 pm

Mark and I just got back from a trip and were reading this post and laughing and laughing together. Mark said, “How does she live a life that funny!?” That’s the first time I’ve ever seen armadillos! (Well, maybe I saw them in a zoo sometime too). Thanks for the superb writing and a great laugh!

Berlinswhimsy July 29, 2008 at 11:49 pm

Oh how I can relate! We don’t have armidillos (though my kids would LOVE that) but I can seriously imagine what our chickens would do if they saw one!!

(Since you brought up ‘This American Life,’ did you ever listen to an episode about an Armidillo? It was about two brothers, one of which suffered from mental illness and had a pet armidillo—quite interesting)…

Kristy July 30, 2008 at 2:59 am

Chuckle chuckle.Your chickens are so funny! I love the armadillos can’t you let them stay?

Sarah July 30, 2008 at 5:07 am


I actually saw an armadillo on the road in southern Missouri the last time we were down there, only about 60 miles from here! They are getting so much closer. (And I am not too keen on that.)

smithfamily July 30, 2008 at 5:42 am

great post. so funny! this made my morning! thanks

nicole July 30, 2008 at 5:59 am

this is just wild! are the ‘dillos mean
? or just pests? you should definitely write a book about this tale!

kristin July 30, 2008 at 6:10 am

goodness. what an event! what did your boys think when you told them?

i too am wondering about the friendliness of armadillos… do they bite? do they run fast or slow? will they be in your yard now everyday? so interesting since those critters leave nowhere near here. they look cute.

Harmony July 30, 2008 at 6:27 am

So funny! Love how you used the pictures to tell the story. I’ve never seen an armadillo in real life either, different looking characters!

caroline July 30, 2008 at 6:43 am

Boy bits!?! HA! That one really did make me lol!

The possum is Kentucky’s version of the armadillo. I can’t imagine the hoopla if there were 4 in my yard!

Sarah July 30, 2008 at 7:13 am

Oh my word. If it’s not one thing, it’s another! What little beasts they are! Your poor chickens…I hope that they recover quickly.

Crystal July 30, 2008 at 7:14 am

I. Love. This. Blog

You may have blistering heat but you have adorable armadillos.

Jade July 30, 2008 at 7:43 am

Seriously Stefani! This has to be one of the funniest posts I’ve ever written. Your chicken conversation has me rolling. I, too, like to put voices with animals and inanimate objects. Hehehe… I love your blog. Keep up the great work mama!

Carolyn July 30, 2008 at 7:56 am

That is too funny. I can’t imagine! Thanks for the laughter. 🙂

Jonah Lisa July 30, 2008 at 8:11 am

Oh my, that makes me think of Texas more than almost anything else I’ve seen here.

What I love is that in the pictures it doesn’t even look that hot.

That speckled hen is gorgeous.

aujah July 30, 2008 at 8:16 am

“Well there goes the neighborhood.”


Mandy July 30, 2008 at 8:32 am

I have never in my life seen a real ive armidillo. See, I do learn something new everyday here!

Anne July 30, 2008 at 8:39 am

Only in you would have Armadillos and chickens in the same picture. Thank you for the good laugh!

Aileen July 30, 2008 at 8:57 am

Too Funny. This post had me cracking up this morning. What great commentary to your photos. And I have to say, if I saw those creatures in my yard, I’m not quite sure what I would do. Are they pests in your part, or cute? Do you trap for them or let them go about their business? Curious.

Up here (in my parts (Northeast, outside of DC), we only have deer, squirrels, red fox, and an occasional chipmunk.

Lynn July 30, 2008 at 9:34 am

Hilarious! Thanks for sharing!!

meg July 30, 2008 at 9:50 am

This is one of the craziest things I’ve ever seen. A whole crew of armadillo?! I’m telling you, in my 15 years in TX, I’ve never seen more than one (and rarely have I seen one alive at all, for that matter!)

Holly C. July 30, 2008 at 10:43 am

There are no armadillos in my neck of the woods. I think if I would see these in real life I would freak!

Christine July 30, 2008 at 11:39 am

Unbelievable! I think I would’ve made a much louder noise than the chickens if I ever saw armadillos in my backyard! Never seen such a thing in my life. Yikes! Is that all too common in your area?

Jody July 30, 2008 at 12:34 pm

I can’t tell you how much I enjoy reading your chicken stories!!! I love them! You are such a wonderful story teller. Write a book!!

Kristi July 30, 2008 at 12:56 pm

ahhh, too good! I hope you got some alone time!!

OMSH July 30, 2008 at 2:18 pm

Live traps capture things you want to forget are lurking – be warned.

Cute story though.
We mostly see DEAD armadillos around here. They seem to like to cross streets in front of cars.

Julie @ Letter9 July 30, 2008 at 2:32 pm

So funny I hardly believe it’s true!

YayaOrchid July 30, 2008 at 2:46 pm

Something’s wrong with my thingamagig that is supposed to show new posts. Here I’ve missed two good ones, cause it was showing one I’d already read.

Armadillos!! That is so cute! Cute also are the pictures of your girls all flustered over the unexpected visitors. The ‘dialogue’ you gave them is hilarious and looks true to story! I imagine those critters will eat their eggs. Which is why I abhor the possums which built a nest under our tool shed. You might want to check your sheds for any holes, if armadillos have long ‘claws’ for digging, that is probably where they nest.

a July 30, 2008 at 2:50 pm

Don’t forget that armadillos can carry leprosy…the chances of ‘dillo to human transmission are EXTREMELY small, but do you really want to risk it?

hanna July 30, 2008 at 3:19 pm

my goodness, what amazing creatures! they look like some prehistoric dinosaur thing. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a picture of a real armadillo, just drawings and cartoons. I’ve just shown my son the pictures, “a-gago” he calls them. Those hens really do look quite put out by their visitors. Thanks for the neat pictures.

Casey July 30, 2008 at 3:47 pm

Next time, sell tickets to the neighbors. That’s hilarious.

Jacqui July 30, 2008 at 5:58 pm

Just wonderful. You have a beauty and ease about your writing that just amazes me. The was you described it, I could so see those chickens and armadillos telling each other off. So funny!

The Peaceful Peacock July 31, 2008 at 6:33 am

There are just no words. I can hear the chickens so clearly in my mind!! Expressive little gals, they are.

Caroline July 31, 2008 at 8:11 am

What a funny post! I can just hear your chickens bawking at the strangers!!

Tersea July 31, 2008 at 9:53 am

My daughter would have been screaming. Wild deer, raccoons, even large bugs, they are no problem. But these harmless armadillos freak her out!

For some reason armadillos spook her. Every time we go camping she continously asks us if they are outside our tent making all the noise!

miss chris July 31, 2008 at 10:50 am

This is why I visit your blog. Even when I really don’t really have the time to do so.

Chickens and armadillos and This American Life. giggle.

nancy July 31, 2008 at 2:28 pm

I do enjoy reading your blog and I must say those “gals” of yours have say the funniest things! The live traps worked wonders for us when our chickens were being raided by racoons, I would recomend them.

sherrieg July 31, 2008 at 5:07 pm

There are armadillos in your yard. Ummm, Stefani! There are ARMADILLOS in your yard! Crazy.

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