“A letter box?!?” I spit.

“I’ll show you,” offers Big A.

Big A’s new chicken run does, indeed, feature a letter box. I stare at it in some annoyance. He is being ridiculously competitive about his new run. It is not even as big as mine.

“I’ve concreted the posts into the ground,” he mentions casually.

I consider lying about our own post construction, but do not wish to descend to his level. “Some of this wood looks quite rotten,” I point out helpfully, as we return through the garden. He is careful to pull the reclaimed front door shut as he leaves the run.

I bolt off home to look through chicken books. If he is going to build a run with concreted in posts and a reclaimed front door, I am determined that we will have the better chickens. I quite fancy the Transylvanian Naked Necks myself, just because they sound exciting. Either that or an Old English Pheasant Fowl. I can quite see myself owning an Old English Pheasant Fowl, and taking it for walks.

Big A is getting some scraggy old ex-battery hens. My pedegree rare breeds will put them to shame, and it will serve him right. I will be careful not to let them mix, so mine do not get into bad habits. But they can write to each other if they like.

37 thoughts on “The chicken situation escalates.

  1. lucy says:

    when are you going to come to my new miniature farmstead in Portugal? I need chicken advice too, and I have dozens of old chicken ladies to compete with. you can build me a fancy chicken run while you’re here.

  2. Sophie says:

    Just think, in times to come, you will be able to entertain and enthrall your great-grandchildren with tales of your heroic doings in the Great Chicken War of 2008 … 😉

  3. tui says:

    Transylvanian Naked Necks…exciting? They sound a little scary to me, as if they’re the original vampire-snack. The Old English Pheasant Fowl seems immeasurably more civilised. And strolling with one of those would undoubtedly give you the social standing to answer that pink phone of yours in public, with a flourish.


  4. anna says:

    Ducks. Have you considered ducks?
    Get a duck. Think of the comedic possibilities.

    Not that chickens aren’t funny, but come on, what do they rhyme with?

  5. Ahh, concrete posts and a second-hand front door, clearly Big A’s run is the council house type of chicken run for his more scraggy chav type of chicken whilst your finely built run is a more fitting abode for your more higher-class, dignified type of chicken, who clearly won’t wish to mix with those lower-class types.

  6. Essy says:


    Your rare breeds could write to Big A’s hens and the letters would be delivered through their letter box. Unfortunately Big A’s hens’ reply letters would get a “return to sender” as you thoughtlessly haven’t provided a letter box. This will lead to your rare breeds getting a complex and thinking they are unloved and lead to chicken suicide.

    You shouldn’t be allowed to keep animals you callous man, I’ve a good mind to call the RSPCA, or do chickens come under the RSPB ?

  7. guyana gyal says:

    I have a better idea for your chickens!!!

    Instead of a letter box, you can give them The Internet!!!

  8. Chickens are funny enough. And they rhyme with “frickin'”.

    Male chickens don’t have to rhyme.

  9. Kirses says:

    Surely more PC to get ex battery hens? If its good enough for J Oliver…

  10. Oh, crap. A preview feature would be nice. No, not a spoof comment.

    ::hanging head in abject shame::

  11. Those pedigree chickens sound pretty demanding, Jonny. I doubt that they’ll stick around in some third-rate amateur-hour chicken run when there are concreted posts and reclaimed front doors awaiting them just across the road. I imagine that’s the whole point. You’ll need an entire Berlin Wall to stop your aristocrats defecting to Big A. Less chicken wire than barbed wire for you, now, I reckon…

  12. Z says:

    I wouldn’t have concreted-in posts, because we like to move our chicken run once in a while to give our bantams a change of scenery and a nice new stretch of grass and insects.

    If you’re going to have a smart pedigree sort of chicken, you’ll want to breed them*, so I’d go for a variety that is motherly. Some pedigrees think they’re too posh to sit on eggs and then you’d have to borrow one of Big A’s birds, which would be really demeaning.

    *Remember to buy a cock, too.

  13. thud says:

    I’ll be getting eglu in summer…will probably buy some of these varied gay designer chickens..only way to convince my wife I’m not going all hillbilly on her.

  14. beware fowl fraternization, Jonny, otherwise they may start comparing pay and conditions.

  15. Fanto says:

    I’d try and get some of those hens with teeth. They’re very rare apparently.

  16. pengwenn says:

    Hey Jonny,
    If you send the address for Big A’s chicken box , I will gladly send all the “magazine re-order post cards” his way….(from across the pond)…That should teach him!

  17. spazmo says:

    Look into raising some of those genetically modified legless chickens that Colonel Sanders uses.

    Basically all you do is sprinkle water on them and watch them grow. Just like sea-monkeys!

  18. JonnyB says:

    That is an excellent idea, spazmo. I love KFC.

    Presumably if I feed them on breadcrumbs and cooking oil then they will grow into… oh

    I do not have the secret recipe. Booooooo.

  19. JonnyB says:

    Hullo pengwenn and welcome. Just address them to ‘Big A’s chickens’ c/o the Village. They will reach him no problem, via the postman.

  20. silverbacks says:

    Why a letter-box?

  21. NAGA - Smallholding Services says:

    Be sure to check the sex of your Posh Chickens JB, less the children’s Easter Egg Hunt becomes a total farce!

    (you do know how to sex chickens don’t you?)

  22. JonnyB says:

    You put on some Dido and see if they move towards or away from it.

    Lucy, thank you for the invitation. I will need to bring Short Tony and Len the Fish. We plan to arrive on Monday if that is OK?

  23. clarissa says:

    Maybe you can install little computers and teach your posh (and I am certain, highly intelligent) chickens to use the internet to send emails. No letterbox required, then.

  24. Ole Phat Stu says:

    “Old English Pheasant Fowl”? Oh come ON!

    You only put that in so that at a later date you can claim to be an old fowl pheasant plucker!

  25. lucy says:

    that’ll be fine. I’ll be expecting you.
    just be sure you can speak fluent chicken first (portuguese chicken, obv).

  26. Greenmantle says:

    You should consult “Allotment Lady” commonly known as “Lottie” to her friends..

    She blogs about keeping allsorts of facny chickens & bantams, and has a lot of tips in her posts.


  27. Duck says:

    You could hire your Naked Cock out to Big A to service his brood and charge him a fortune.

  28. Pat says:

    But are Lotties’ posts concreted in one wonders?
    Anna and Joan: lickin’ rhymes with chicken – as in finger lickin’.
    Good luck Jonny with finding the motherly ones. I suggest looking for big bosoms.

  29. sablonneuse says:

    If you are keeping rare breeds you’ll have to enter them for shows. I believe you have to shampoo them and dry them carefully with a hairdryer on the day. Now that would be oneupmanship. Your chickens could have their own beauty parlour. Bet Big A couldn’t top that.

  30. Bane says:

    Jonny, use care when exposing your cock to your child, should you get one. I hear they can damage a small child, and are mean and protective.

  31. Blossom says:

    When I was a child, my parents always had fowls (preferred term is fowl – chicken is what they are after cooking).
    I love the sounds of the outrageous names of some of the varieties – White Leghorn, Black Australorp, and Rhode Island Reds.
    They were all pretty reliable layers, and the darker the feathers, the browner the eggs.

  32. sooz says:

    Big A is being devious! He’s going for ex-battery chickens only so he can squeeze a few more in than you. They’re used to taking up very little space.

  33. Suburbia says:

    Are his chickens more worthy though, being rescued and all?!!

  34. I so confused – if you have better chickens, will their eggs taste better?

    I didn’t think so.

  35. Bob says:

    I hear “boneless chicken” fetches the best price at the meat packer’s. Personally, I couldn’t bear to see the pitiful critters slithering around the yard, but if you have the stomach for it, there’s good money to be made in boneless chicken.

  36. Lisa says:

    And then there’s Lick a Chick–an honest to god fast food restaurant at a secret location in Canada, whose whereabouts I cannot reveal except for a lot of money. But I have the t-shirt to prove it.

  37. Saltation says:

    >But they can write to each other if they like.

    would the suggestion thatif they do so they could protect themselves from Big A retribution by using hen names, fall fowl of your later ban on puns?

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