Chickens

Even the chickens treat me with distain.

April 24, 2012

Me with a chicken on my head

Me with a chicken on my head

I thought chickens were meant to be timid creatures, which is why cowardly behaviour was referred to as ‘being chicken’.

So what the hell is a bird I’ve known for only a couple of days doing jumping onto, and then proceeding to sit on, my head?

If they are supposed to be scared of humans then I can only assume that they view me as sub-human, equal to a rock or a bit of wood.

The one in the picture isn’t even the confident one of the chickens we got last weekend.  That title goes to Goldie, my youngest son’s Golden Star who doesn’t seem to mind his often violent affection.

The chicken’s lack of fear does worry me a bit. If a fox turned up, they’d probably invite him into the coop for a cuppa and a chin-wag.

However, as in my mind the fox would be wearing a tweed waistcoat, plus fours and a monocle, I‘ll admit I’m no wildlife expert.

Chickens can be a bit creepy too. There have been a couple of times when I’ve been working in the garden, when the feeling of being watched has come over me. I’ve looked up to find the beady eye of a chicken staring at me from some just-out-of-sight perch only a couple of feet away.

This afternoon I was working in the greenhouse when the three of them began circling the outside, occasionally pecking at the glass. I wonder why Hitchcock didn’t feature chickens much in The Birds.

Imagine you’re sitting on a bench by a playground, enjoying a quiet cigarette. Gradually the skies darken and you begin to be aware of a growing rustling sound. Suddenly there is a squawk, and you spin around only to see CHICKENS ON A CLIMBING FRAME.

Ridiculous or terrifying? Like so many things (Loose Women, my cooking, Etonians.) chickens can be both.

Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to the deed poll office.

April 16, 2012

Chicken

What did you just call me?

Following your heartfelt responses on my ‘Should I Convert My Son’s Playhouse Into A Chicken Coop?‘ post, I’ve settled on a compromise and I have now converted half of my son’s playhouse into a chicken coop and we’re on the cusp of getting our own chickens. However a familiar dilemma which occurs every time a new living thing swells the household numbers, again rears its head. What to call the darn things.

With babies’ names it’s relatively straight forward. You’re basically looking for something you can live with screaming up the stairs for the next 18 years. Something not too weird, not too boring and something that doesn’t beg to be the first line of a limerick, so Buck, Hank, and Regina are out of the question.

However it’s different with chickens. By virtue of not being especially vulnerable to teasing, and being unlikely to ever have to write their own name, you can pretty much call them anything.

So in an attempt to involve the kids I had the brilliant idea that they have a chicken each and come up with their own names.

After initial enthusiastic suggestions coming from my 3, 5 and 8 year old boys, I quickly realised that this was a terrible idea and I should have kept them out of it.

The oldest wanted to name them after battleships, the middle one after characters from Star Wars and the littlest just made up words.

There will be those amongst you who think I should just go with it if it makes the kids happy and what does it matter what the chickens are called anyway?

Inevitably the kids will get bored with the chickens soon enough. Hell, I can’t think of anything they won’t get bored of pretty quickly before going back to Lego. You might get a couple of hours interest from a life size helicopter, maybe three from a tank, but I reckon if you want to keep them busy for a whole afternoon, you’re going to have to bring home a human corpse.

For the children, I’m pretty sure the chickens will be a fad, and I’ll be the one left calling ‘Princess Amidala’, ‘HMS Invincible’ and ‘Zetatinketta’ into their coop every night.

Anyway, I’m picking up the birds this week, so I’ll let you know what we decide to name them, suggestions are welcome. Christening invitations will be in the post, so buy a hat.

 

Is it wrong to convert my son’s playhouse into a chicken coop against his wishes?

February 1, 2012

Chicken vs Son

I know that I could just buy a chicken coop for less than £100, but that’s still a lot of money when there is already a vacant wooden structure in situ. It just seems like a waste, and what with the shed and the greenhouse in close proximity, the addition of another small building will make my garden look less rural self-sufficiency, more shanty town.

I’d pretty much decided to go ahead and was on the verge of getting my saw out when it occurred to me that the decent thing to do would be to quickly check with the little fella that it was OK with him.

I see now that was a mistake.

His little blue eyes began to fill with tears almost immediately. At first he was so shocked by the suggestion that he didn’t even understand what was being suggested.

“You mean I’d share the house with the chickens?”

(me) “No, it would become the chicken’s house, that would be nice wouldn’t it?”

(him) “But it is my house.”

He’s quite a smart kid for a three-year-old, clearly this blinking incomprehension was just an act. So he was trying to manipulate me, however emotional blackmail only works if you give a shit right?

Unfortunately it seems I do. I headed off the impending tantrum with the parental mantra “We’ll see”, and now I don’t know what to do.

Points to consider:

  1. Morally speaking the house is his. We were given it, and we presented it to him as a birthday present, so I didn’t even pay for it.
  2. He plays with it a bit. It’s not like when I slyly got rid of his dolls house which I felt no compulsion to discuss with him beforehand owing to his total neglect. Or that scooter or that drum kit, or the keyboard. -OK, I’m beginning to understand why he’s clinging on to one of his few remaining possessions.
  3. How much does a kid’s opinion really count for? I mean c’mon this isn’t the UN here, we don’t have to pretend that everyone’s equal. My husband pays for stuff = High value family member. I know where stuff is around the house = High value family member. The kids are cute, but when it comes to measurable worth, they really are more takers than givers. Especially the little one. At least the eldest son occasionally fetches small objects, and the middle one is easily manipulated into taking my side in family arguments, but the little blond one has two main qualities, cuteness and stubbornness, and neither is any use to me, so why shouldn’t I just ignore his wishes? It sounds cruel, I know, but I’m just trying to be practical.

Anyway, I feel I have much to consider. Buy a new coop and I risk wasting money, and space. Convert the playhouse and I could put my son off eggs for life. It’s a tough one.

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