Gone chicks gone.

chickens

Me and my girls

It’s been a while since I posted on this blog, but I’m afraid tragedy has forced my hand.

Our three chickens, Goldie, Isabelle and Julia have recently celebrated their one year anniversary with us (we chucked some corn their way and said ‘nice one’). They have been happy pecking about/mercilessly destroying the top end of our garden. We have chased them around neighbouring gardens, harvested slugs for them and braved all kinds of weather to collect the eggs they have kindly provided. We have all been happy, fulfilled and content with one another, who can ask for more?

Last weekend we went away and our usual chicken babysitters couldn’t make it, so we asked a family down the road to take care of the girls for a few nights. They did so, but on the last night we got a text to tell us that they’d been a bit late putting the girls in and despite a 2 hour search one of them was still missing. Then came the fatefull line, ‘there were some feathers and blood around…’. A fox. Dammit.

When we got back Julia was gone and Goldie and Isabelle were clearly shaken. We were kind to them, gave them lots of TLC, ACV and gentle coaxing and they seemed to be cheering up.

Today we decided to get them a new roomie, so my husband took the kids to the farm to buy a new POL pullet. When they got back we all trooped up the garden to introduce her to her new partners, but all was eerily quiet. My son innocently asked ‘Where are the others?’ to which his brother answered, ‘Don’t worry, they’re probably in the coop’.

They weren’t. I had a quick check round the back and found our favourite chicken, Gold Star ‘Goldie’ lying in the compost, decapitated. We couldn’t see Isabelle anywhere. It was obvious the fox had come returned to finish the job.

Not long afterwards came the strangest scene I have ever been witness to. I was talking to my husband about whether to get a new chicken straight away to give our new bird some company, when behind him  I saw the decapitated corpse of our other chicken Isabelle ‘fly’ over the hedge. By which I mean our neighbours, on finding a dead chicken on their driveway, had decided the best course of action was to sling it over the eight foot lleylandii hedge.

We weren’t in the immediate vicinity so one can only presume that we missed the “Hullo there neighbour, we seem to have found something of yours, would you care to have it returned?” which presumably proceeded the flinging of the dead bird, but I remain confused. If you found a dead cat, or dog on your driveway and you knew it belonged to a neighbour would you, a) pop round and let them know that their dead pet was just behind the Audi, or would you b) sling it over the hedge?

Even for those of you who think. Ah, a chicken is not a pet. I would agree, but then ask the same question if the animal was a lamb, or a sheep, or a goat etc. I’m still thinking you’d pop round. Maybe that’s just me.*

Anyway this basically cemented our decision. As I recall, the last thing I called to my husband as he drove off back to the farm was ‘get the loudest one you can’.

So now, one year on our old friends are gone and we have two new chickens, LaLa and Cassie. And a new enemy. Foxes beware.

*I know some people may not approve of me keeping chickens and may feel it impinges on their lives and I have some sympathy, although I’m not sure how it’s a problem, (unless chicken noises are more intolerable than the house music my other neighbour pumps out of his shed 4 hours a day). I would suggest that my neighbour’s poor attitude to recycling and their teenager’s delight in having a loud party every time they go away, also impinges on my life but I don’t make a fuss. We all live together and small inconveniences are to be endured for the sake of a harmonious community. Basically what I’m saying if your husband is going to stare out the window when I’m sunbathing, then don’t frigging
sling a dead chicken over my fence when we are in mourning. Be nice bitch.

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