Saturday, January 14, 2012

Iron chicken

When the former Mayor of London, Ken Whatsisname was first elected to the position, he apparently had a chance run in with Margaret Thatcher, and he took advantage of the occasion to ask her for a spot of advice. Her reply, the story goes, was simply this: "Resolution! Resolution!"

Did I say 'resolution'? I think I did, and the word 'resolution' naturally leads me to the subject of our chickens, and Daisy in particular, who has been displaying admirable resolution of late in her sitting abilities. Up until about a week prior to Christmas, I had not really appreciated the sitting abilities of chickens very much. They sat, yes; but they also walked around and pecked at things; and occasionally they clucked.

As it turns out, 'sitting' turns out to be something chickens do very well indeed. They may, indeed, be described as efficient sitting devices with multi-functional pecking-and-clucking abilities programmed in as well. Daisy started sitting - and she jolly well hasn't stopped sitting yet. She is a superlative sitter, sitting at night, sitting during the day, getting up in the middle of the day to take a turn around the yard and some water before returning straight away to her sitting. She sat, she sat, she sat, and just when it seemed she wasn't getting anywhere with her sitting - and I suppose strictly speaking that not getting anywhere is one thing that sitting does very well - she sat some more. She was, in a word, clucky.

We weren't quite sure what to do with Daisy and her sitting at first. We adopted a wait-and-see approach, and we waited, and we saw that that wouldn't get anywhere. (Just like Daisy, who remained sitting in the coop while we waited.) Every morning, Griselda would jump up into the coop and lay her egg, which Daisy would deftly roll under herself. And every morning, we would go out to collect that egg, and Daisy would fluff herself up and chirrup indignantly, in a way which was obviously meant to be utterly terrifying (but which we found highly amusing).

Poor Daisy! We took pity on her, and gave her a golf ball. She rolled that under her feathery nethers, and sat on it. And stayed sitting on it, hour after hour, day after day. Eventually we saw that that plan (whatever our plan was - I'm not sure and I'm not sure if the Baron's sure either) wasn't working either. And besides, we started worrying that if Daisy kept on sitting on the golf ball in the determined way that she had sat so far, she might actually - well - hatch something out of it. And no-one wanted that.

So, we gave her a real egg this time, a fertile bantam egg, from the flock presided over by the Baron Mother. And, what do you know, Daisy rolled that under herself and sat on that. She sat on that for a week in Bright, from Christmas Eve, Christmas, Boxing Day, through to New Year's Day, and kept on sitting on it, and, with laborious regularity, sat on it right through the first week of the new year, up until yesterday.

And, of course, by now you will be able to see where this tale is really going, dear reader, and the conclusion will be in sight by now: eventually, as these things tend to happen in the normal chain of circumstances, the egg Daisy was sitting on hatched. And out popped a fine baby chick, which we called Henry.

And which Daisy, in an excess of maternal love, promptly sat on.

Daisy and (possibly) Henry.

Sitting. It's apparently all the rage in chicken parenting, don't you know. Hey guys, have you had any babies lately? Maybe you should try sitting on them.


Steve said...

I can't believe no one has asked yet: did Henry survive?

TimT said...

Henry thrives! (Watch out for forthcoming blog post).

Chickens have amazingly capacious bosoms. You could build a city under them. Excellent shelter for little chicks who don't have proper feathers yet.

Email: timhtrain - at -

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