Chooks seem to present themselves in many and varied ways at our house. We started off with a modest modicum of chooks, Daisy and Griselda, to be layers. They were duly given a pen to the side of the garden and duly began laying.
Shortly after this, we were presented with Agatha by my brother. Agatha had an interesting story; she had for some months been living at my brother's house in Warburton, on the side of a large hill, with two guinea fowl. At night, foxes would come down off the hill and pick off the guinea fowl, but Agatha survived. We were wondering how she was going to fit in when she came to our house, but we needn't have worried: instead of waiting for the other chooks to peck her, Agatha just lowered her head and ran madly at Daisy and Gris and pecked them both into submission before placing herself over the food bowl and scoffing the lot. In fact, we've discovered pecking is pretty much Aggie's raison de etre - she'll peck anything from a trouser leg to a fellow chicken, just to keep her beak in.
For a time being we acquired Henry, because Daisy got clucky and we took pity on her and gave her an egg and in due course we all got to know the egg better, and there you go. Henry was a bantam rooster, in fact, and took to living inside, perching on teapots, and placing himself between the sounding boards of the harp and the piano when he wanted to crow. What a soothing, tranquil time that turned out to be.
Daisy and Gris eventually slowed down in their laying and we acquired Esme and Shirley, the two Australorps; and eventually Esme became clucky, as Daisy had before her. We gave her some eggs, too, which is how we ended up with Geoffrey (despite the name, Geoffrey is most likely a girl).
What is this all leading up to? Well, this afternoon I was lying in the bath when a chap positioned himself at the front door and began shouting in. "Hello? Hello? Is anyone there?" Eventually the Baron wandered out, and I got some clothes on (well - a towel counts doesn't it?) and went out as well. He was holding a chicken. Another brown, by the looks of it (quite like our Daisy and Griselda). And he was kind of sort of wondering what to do with her.
How had he discovered us? It appears he'd been wandering round our street and asked someone walking the dog if anyone round here had chickens. Apparently we're a bit ostentatious about the whole chicken-keeping thing - (what - is it the habit of walking the chooks on the oval, the loud squawking in the morning from the Australorp's house, the occasional habit they have of escaping into neighbour's gardens, making it necessary for us to somewhat illegally leap fences and chase them out again?) Who would have thought?
So we appear to have a new chicken. She's sleeping in the laundry right now.
You've heard that expression 'chick magnet', right?
Well, the Baron and I appear to be something similar. We're bloody chook magnets!
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