The Hen Eulogy

Dear Wilma, we are gathered here today, in this blog to wish you a fond farewell. As you know, we were on unusually intimate terms (*see Chicken Violation Blog), and while it was a shock to find you dead on the nest, it was comforting that you seemed to have passed in your sleep old thing, with your head resting on a pillow of soft straw. There are many lessons to thank you for dear girl:

tolerance and cooking tips: ta for making the new chook ‘Madame’ welcome. Going from a coop of two to three can’t have been easy, as we all know when three females are together, one is usually left out. But you made a great show of backing off and  letting her have the some food scraps………now you and I know it was just the carrots you let her have coz you didn’t like them, but that will be our little secret. On the subject of food; thanks also for being the ultimate benchmark of edibility for some of my food experiments……….the trial cakes you left on the coop floor told me all I needed to know about recipe success…

trust: thanks for sitting very still as we did the regular trim of your flight feathers, your beady eyes never left the scissors once, and I like to think it was out of respect for my cutting prowess rather than fear….

fashion and safety: cheers for the  ‘beaks-up’ on my colour choices, on the busy days when I was mucking out your house in open toe sandals, you clearly showed a preference for the pillar box Red nail polish on my toes as you couldn’t leave them alone, (not something that happened when I wore the pale pink shade; you gave that colour a good ignoring, so you clearly were not a girl into the pastels). I think red must have been a favourite all round, as you didn’t seem to mind when I dressed you up in red reindeer ears at Christmas (so ta for letting me do that too x)  However, with my sandal wearing you did  always have a wee go at the back of my heals…as if, with each peck you were saying ‘where’s your gum boots, where’s your gum boots…..tap tap tap…..sometimes it even made me change for safety reasons….

grounding: still re. the open toe sandal wearing (‘thongs’ in Oz), thank you for all the times  when,stepping in a pile of chook poop had it squelch up between the toes, usually at 5am when doing the rushed food and water routine for you Gals before getting ready for work…That, and having to hose said feet and thongs in back garden  with chilli water first thing, before sun-up made it impossible to feel anything other than ‘grounded’ all day…., and the only place from there is UP :)….

football and gardening: a cherry tomato will always be a wee Wilma football from now on, as you seemed to prefer playing with them to eating them. Not that you always avoided the eating part….which brings me to the thanks for the gardening tip…..that tomato seeds can pass, intact through a chicken and be fertilised on the way; as evidenced by all the little tomato plants that have sprouted in the garden anywhere I spread chook poop!……

And so farewell faithful chook; will think of you every time I see a tomato plant in the petunias. Thanks for feeding us with quality eggs, the entertainment and the life lessons; and if there is a chicken heaven I hope they gave you Red wings * mindful of the small things that aren’t  so little

 

Wilma in antler drag

Wilma in antler drag

 

 

 

 

 

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chicken violation……

I have a confession to make……yesterday I had my fingers up a chicken that was still alive!…the day started fairly normally, apart from Wilma (Hen 2) looking a wee bit under

Betty & Wilma chickens

Betty & Wilma chickens

the weather. No usual perky flapping of wings, more a feeble scratch at the ground and hung head; I wasnt overly worried until she seemed to be ehmm…..straining to no avail and her back-end was pasty and less than pristine.A quick search of some learned fowl sites on Dr Google told me I should “check the vent for blockage, and clear any obstacles found”…..well the only obstacles I could think of (other than a blocked egg) was the objection I had to sticking my fingers up the back-end of poor Wilma.

The helpful site also suggested that a bath in warm water may help her relax, and that the addition of Epsom salts would further soothe her to relaxation  point . Well , fond of Wilma as I am, i wasnt about to be sharing my bath with her, so an al fresco basin for her and some rubber gloves for me would have to suffice.

I have to say she didn’t seem to mind the warm water and she appeared more calm than me, or maybe that was a  ‘frozen” look on her face; so I boldly went where no woman had gone before (with Wilma) and adopted a gynecological approach to the chicken exploration, clearing whatever I found that didn’t seem to belong there. Himself” watched on, giving me moral support from a safe distance, with a mixture of disgust and admiration on his face……not sure there is enough disinfectant in the world to get that image out of his head [Note to self: don’t offer to make him pastry by hand any time soon].

Wilma is on the mend, and getting special treatment and scraps, after all, we are now on more intimate terms and I will treasure (and enjoy)  her eggs, knowing the effort she goes to produce the miracle that turns grain and food scraps into a protein packed orb. * I learned, and was mindful that you only get back what you put in!