5 ways chickens will ruin your life
A gentle looking hen raises her beak and clucks at you from across the garden as you step outside. You smile, and she begins waddling over to you with surprising speed on her stick-like legs. Her fluffy white pantaloons swish in the breeze and she chirrups at you for her daily sweetcorn. Alas, your hands are empty today, so the delightful, feathery angel poddles off to inspect the flowerbeds for a tasty worm or two, leaving you to go about your garden in peace.
Nice picture, right?
Unfortunately, this idyllic scene couldn't be further from the truth.
I myself am owned by 5 chickens, so you can trust me when I say that these creatures are not accurately represented by the ones you see in movies - you know, those cute puff balls totting around in the background of a medieval village, or maybe gracing the arms of a cheerful little girl, content and full of serenity.
It's all a venomous lie.
Chicken are pricks.
To each other, to stray cats, to small mammals, but most especially to you, the kind owner who probably dared to venture outdoors without, god forbid, some snacks. I can't leave my house without a beady eye following my steps, two scaly feet ready to launch themselves on to me if they detect a mere sniff of anything remotely edible. Nothing is beyond the pale for a chicken. I've had to desperately shoo them away from styrofoam before.
Let's not forget, chickens are essentially dinosaurs, evolved (and downgraded) from the great T-rex into the mini raging beasts they are today. They haven't lost any of their instinct for bloodlust and murder either, let me tell you.
So I invite you to sit down, relax, and read a little about the top 5 ways owning chickens will break you down and enslave your soul. Enjoy.
1. If you have a liking for your garden, take a deep breath.
The birds are tweeting, the sun is shining, the grass deliciously scents the air, and -- that wildflower patch you've been carefully cultivating? Somehow razed to the ground in the brief span of time you turned my back after letting the girls out.
The roses? Each leaf nibbled.
Window boxes? Smashed, more than once.
The lavender will never recover from the nests made in it.
At this point you'll begin to think chickens have decided destruction to be the sole purpose of their lives.
The only thing that'll actually thrive in your garden? The grass. Chickens poop everywhere.
2. You will never ever ever have a lie-in again - ever.
This one needs no further explanation. Don't even think about being late. Hell hath no fury like a chicken left without breakfast.
3. Major threat to physical well-being.
A delightful characteristic of the chicken is their obsessive need to dig holes to dust-bathe in. Pot holes down the bog road would be less critical to your ankles.
I wouldn't mind if they dug a hole and actually used it, but they'll finish one crater and suddenly decide it's no longer quite right, and another hole must be put into development. Beside the first one. But BIGGER!
Not to mention the fact that a chicken has an incredible ability to trip you up - having no such thing as value for their own lives, they'll happily zig zag beneath your feet as you try to avoid crushing them. I'm clumsy enough on my own, having 5 chaotic ravenous chooks under foot has resulted in more than a few near misses.
4. They enjoy the finer things in life.
Listen, they don't have to eat corn and blueberries and melon, and you might consider it bribery to offer such snacks, and you would be right. It's a vicious cycle of course, the more you give, the more they want. Where will it end? Somewhere with me crying in a corner, no doubt.
5. Chicken maths.
What is this troubling combo of chickens and maths, you ask? Well, it's the fact that chickens have this ability to spontaneously multiply themselves. You went out to get two chickens, and came home with six. Your coop can fit ten. Technically there's still some room. And what's four more hens going to cost?
The answer is your sanity.
A final word of cautious optimism.
Look, for all their issues, chickens do have one thing going for them - they're hands down the most hilarious pets I've ever had.
You'll be witness to the chicken olympics as they head-down, flat out sprint laps of the garden after the one who found a tasty treat (which may include, but is not limited to, the morsel of raw chicken dropped by a passing crow).
They'll surprise you with the creativity of their 2 brain cells. What is a glass window to a chicken when there is an imaginary crumb on the other side? There's only so many times you can hear that kerthunk of a 5 pound flapping idiot rocketing into your window before you begin to wonder how the hell these animals exist at all. I keep a 'Chicken Vs Window' scorecard. One of these days I'm sure they'll turn it around.
You might win the chicken lottery and get one that decides you are danger incarnate and must be pecked mercilessly and particularly at vulnerable moments - loading the washing machine, tying shoelaces - God forbid you try and sunbathe. It's great for keeping the reflexes sharp.
You'll also get the ones who rather enjoy being carted around in your arms, especially if you hold them aloft a la 'Lion King' to reach the tasty insects usually out of reach.
And, being so utterly devoted to their stomachs, chickens tend to have better recall than a well-trained Labrador. It feels pretty damn cool when you can bring about a stampede across the garden with a simple 'chook chook' - your friends will think you're the bomb! Right?!
Chickens can even fly - for a few brief moments. And you have to give it them, out of all bird-kind, they somehow manage to outdo every other species to claim the number one spot as least-majestic-animal-with-wings.
So there you have it. If I haven't completely put you off owning a few fluffy-butts of your own, congratulations. Welcome to the cult. You can never leave :)
My ladies: Phoebe, Emily, Hei-Hei, Bubbles, and Breadcrumb <3