Thursday, 7 April 2011

Making amends with the hens

Tom has been away for most of the week, and is back tomorrow.  Normally I quite enjoy his absence, mainly because I get to watch trashy TV in bed, while eating crisp sandwiches, in peace.  But since getting chickens, I now sightly dread him going away.

He gives me instructions on what I have to do with them, like: let them out at 7am, feed them, talk to them, don't kick them, find them worms, collect the eggs, and then lock them up again at night.

The first morning Tom was away I totally forgot about the chickens until midday, and I only remembered because Betty informed me, with basket in hand, that we were off to collect the eggs.  As we neared the coop, I heard some very angry hen noises - there was no mistaking they were pretty pissed off.  It sounded like they were throwing themselves against the hatch door in an attempt to get out.  I feared they may attack me, so I went in armed with a big stick and bravely told Betty and Dolly to wait for me outside the coop.  I opened the hatch and out they charged with an evil glint in their eye.  I had stupidly forgotten to put out their food, and so they pecked furiously at my shoes and surrounded me in a menacing manner.  I was terrified.  I flapped my arms in an attempt to get them away from me, but they, in turn, began flapping their wings.  'Mummy what are you doing?' Betty called.  'HELP' I called back.  I noted that Dolly was giving me a pitiful look.

I did eventually make it out of the coop, albeit a quivering wreck, and closed the gate firmly.  They still needed food though, but there was no way on earth I was going back in there.  So I grabbed handfuls of corn from the tub and threw it at them over the fence.  The clucking now getting more ferocious, they seemed incensed by my actions and they refused to eat the corn.  'I need to collect the eggs Mummy' Betty said.  'We are not collecting the blinkin eggs' I said. I then frog-marched Betty and Dolly back to the house.

Now safely inside, Betty continued to go on and on about the eggs and insisted that she needed to eat one for her lunch.  At that moment in time, I could not think of anything worse than eating an egg laid by one of those chickens - evil chickens who seemed intent on pecking and flapping me to death.

After a stern, but reasoned, talking to from Betty, and lots of sighing from Dolly, I began thinking a little more rationally about the whole thing.  I concluded that it was unlikely they were killer hens and were just plain hungry.  With my maternal instincts kicking in, I then had intense feelings of guilt, and so decided to cook up a proper wholesome meal for them by way of an apology.  So an hour later, armed with an elaborate vegetarian pasta dish, the girls and I headed back towards the coop.  I gently poured the food over the fence, and talked to them slowly and calmly.  And while they appreciatively gorged on the pasta, I sent Betty in to collect the eggs.


nappy valley girl said...

Haha, I can just imagine. I think chickens would freak me out too. Glad they enjoyed the pasta - I wonder if they will start squawking in Italian?

Nora said...

I thought you fixed the pasta for yourself. I didn't realize it was a trade for an egg or two. That seems like a high price to pay. Better remember the chickens first thing in the morning so they will not be so angry at you. They'll grow to love you yet.

Louisa said...

I've just finished a stint of chicken sitting, don't let them take control - you have to keep the upper hand!

Good luck!

Elsie Button said...

hi nappy valley, yes, they devoured the pasta - but it was gone in seconds - i was then worried they might get indigestion

hi nora, that was the tragic thing, normally you give chickens your leftovers - but i felt so bad i actually cooked them a meal

hi louisa, yes i must remember that - the upper hand - they can be pretty scary though!

Crystal Jigsaw said...

The Birds, The Birds!!! Hens can be quite fierce when they're hungry. Mine cluck around my ankles and follow me all over the place until I give in.

CJ xx

Elsie Button said...

hi CJ, how lovely to see you! The Birds - Nooooo, you have must made my fear worse!

Sparx said...

I love you, you make me laugh so much! We had chickens when I was a child... their sheer stupidity has its own charm. Glad you cooked them something, they like a cooked dinner, chickens. We used to cook up all our kitchen scraps (veggies) and it was my job to put my hands into the cooling mass and squidge it up for them every morning... just the way to wake oneself up for school... the day can hardly get worse...

Elsie Button said...

hi sparx, omg - yuck! the ridiculous thing is we also had chickens when i was a child - you would never believe it though...

Propertykita said...

I agree with a lot of what you're saying here but it could do with more detail. They stayed away in droves.

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