Yellow Chicken House

Chicken Keeping – The good, the bad and the egg-ly!

Comedy Moments in the Yellow Chicken House

on July 31, 2013

Today, like most days, I spent a couple of hours out in the garden with the chickens. And like most days, their comical antics kept me amused as I drank my tea and soaked up the sun. It’s hard not to smile whilst watching a normally gentle and reserved hen like Shelley Shufflebottom frantically running after a butterfly, beak open and jumping up in an attempt to eat it, which in fairness, she came very close to succeeding at.

Comedy moment number two followed shortly after when a sweet-looking wood pigeon fluttered into the garden and landed on the lawn in front of Cookie. A tense moment followed with Cookie issuing a series of ‘warning’ clucks. The little wood pigeon blinked innocently but failed to recognise the impending wrath of the feisty hen. Cookie finally lost her temper and rushed at the pigeon, head butting it swiftly and accurately in its face. The wood pigeon, clearly surprised and unfamiliar with such thuggish behaviour, was gone like a shot. I doubt I will see that wood pigeon in my garden again, or even in the village I live in if its fearful cry of pain was anything to go by.

But the comedy highlight of the afternoon was yet to come.

Later on, I made my way down the garden towards the lopsided shed that (just about) stands at the end of my garden. The chickens recognise this as the source of food and usually run at full speed at my feet when they see me approaching it. On this occasion, Buffy Lucille had not noticed and remained at the far end of the garden while the other chickens squawked and squealed for ‘shed food’. Not wanting to let Buffy miss out, I stood in full view of her at the opposite end of the garden and began to clap my hands. I often do this as I approach the shed to alert the chickens of impending food. In fact, I have been inside the house while the chickens have been free-ranging and have clapped my hands from an upstairs window to test their reaction to the noise without my presence – Buffy ran to the shed! She’s either clever or greedy; her size would suggest the latter.

As I began to clap my hands, Buffy immediately turned to look at me. At this point I realised I’d left the 4ft high Omlet Chicken fencing up which was blocking her way:

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Suddenly, she took flight and began to approach me, at eye level, travelling at full speed. My clapping stopped as the split second panic set in – a bird the size of a cat was hurtling towards me like a bowling wall with wings. My tragic life flashed before my eyes:

– My first pet – a budgie called Bobby whose entire body was about the size of one of Buffy’s thighs

– An ill-informed perm at the age of 15 – proof that sometimes, your mother does not know what’s best for you.

– Choosing to come to Aberystwyth University based on it being by the seaside and very little else

– Moving into a stone cottage which is a minutes walk away from both my workplace and my local pub – the stuff dreams are made of

Suddenly, just as I was contemplating the feasibility (and absurdity) of a last minute leap and roll, Buffy neatly landed at my feet with a thump, hopping from one foot to the other in joyful anticipation. She had cleared the fence, flown the entire length of the garden, and landed 2 inches from my feet. At this point, my mind switched back to the note Martin had left pinned to the fridge for me earlier that day:

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Oops…I knew there was something I’d forgotten to do….

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