Tuesday, 19 August 2008

Murder in the hen house.

Those that know me understand that I am very fond of my chickens which often feature in my day to day ramblings about life in the country. I have five, all individually named, with specific places in the pecking order of the hen run, and with characteristics and colours that make each easy to identify. They are all laying at the moment but have gone for months during the heat of the summer when nary an egg is produced, so the cost per dozen is far more than one would pay at a supermarket and does not bear close calculation. Cheap eggs are not why I keep them, the benefits are many - the girls are usually amusing to watch, eat all my vegetable scraps and weeds, and produce copious quantities of fertiliser for the garden as well as producing delicious large eggs which come in an array of lovely creams and brown, have gorgeous yellow yolks, and are currently being produced in numbers that allow the dogs and I to eat our fill, and give the surplus to friends. Today I collected four of them, and these are the last few day's bounty - I love the speckled brown ones.

Chickens are not nice - they fight, squabble, peck at my hands and feet, try to escape at every instance, and .....KILL. Yesterday I watched as Delores (the gorgeous baby chicken who arrived for Christmas) caught a mouse that had been disturbed when I lifted the nest box cover to collect the eggs. She snatched it immediately, and then ran out of the house and into the pen with it in her beak, the mouse squeaking loudly in protest. Then silence for a moment followed by much squawking from the other birds who were in hot pursuit. The mouse, now dead, was pulled apart in the squabble and then there were several chooks running round with bits of mouse in their beaks trying to avoid those who had nothing. A few quick gobbles and the whole episode was over in about two minutes. Nasty things chickens!


1 comment:

paulahewitt said...

We love our chickens too - the kids named ours (we couldnt explain to Tom why 'little pecker' wasnt a very good name) - but the eggs arent cheap. we sell a few dozen occasionally to neighbours ($3 a doz) but I think the concensus is we are cheap skates to sell our 'free' eggs.lol. poor little mouse - but i was more worried you were going to write about a fox....