10 Country: Jesse's Hitchhiking Chickens - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

10 Country: Jesse's Hitchhiking Chickens

June 5, 2007 

Tift Co. -- Sometimes we cant see something right under our noses, and that happen to a man who dearly loves barnyard animals. A two-legged animal quietly set up housekeeping in the mans car and he never realized it-- until a friend pointed it out.

The old saying that You can judge the heart of a man by the way he treats animals, tells you all about Jesse Arnett.  I see a happy family of chickens and ducks, says Jesse as he stands near one of seven doors on a chicken coop built by his wife, Dixie, and her father.

 Inside a family with a nervous hen, a duck sitting on eggs, another duck that lets her special chick ride on its back.

"Female duck sat on two chicken eggs, hatched them out," says Jesse pointing to a white duck with a chick on its back. After a few minutes, the chick steps off to a wooden roost to stand by its sibling.

Sometimes it takes every mother in a barnyard to raise all the little ones, and Jesse makes sure they feel secure. "We lock them up at night to be safe from predators,"
says Jesse as he closes the door and locks it with a latch.

  Jesse felt that he needed just a little more security for his animals so he got special guards and gave them a wonderful place to live. "They sleep in that car day or night," says Jesse as he points to a white van where he leaves the doors always open so his dogs, Belle and Rowdy, can come and go as they please.

If the weather turns cold, Jesse brings them inside his house for the night. "They are like my children. I just like their company. I know they love to ride," says Jesse as he cranks the van for a short demonstration ride.

 Belle loves to sit by Jesse, Rowdy loves to ride with his head outside the window, and sometimes he over extends himself. "He fell out twice at 50 miles-per-hour and survived it," says Jesse.

Little did Jesse know that he had more than a couple of dogs as passengers. He had several stowaways in the rolling dog mobile. "I didn't know she was in there until someone called my attention to it because she blended right in with the floor cover," says Jesse about a brown hen with several biddies.

The contented chicken found her own mobile home to raise her family. "She laid 10 eggs and hatched out seven of them," says Jesse. The hen and her babies rode more than a hundred miles with Jesse, Belle and Rowdy.

Seven well disciplined chicks along for the ride. "All they are doing is sitting there and enjoying the ride," says Jesse.

No ruffled feathers, just two-legged contentment in a $ 10,000 van, chauffeured by Jesse with plenty of security.

Evidentially, the dogs knew she was there, but didn't bother her, says Jesse who was the last to know and that's OK with him. He believes home is where the animals are. Several years ago Jesse found a huge bullfrog sitting on duck eggs as if he was trying to hatch them but none of them did.