Booooooo – we had to shoot Chicken Four.

It lived for only a few weeks. That seems desperately sad and unfair, given that Jeremy Kyle is 43. So five chickens remain: Chicken One, Chicken Two, Chicken Three, Chicken Five and Anne Robinson.

Chicken Four was always smaller than her sister chickens, and it is possible that the strain of coming up to her first egg-production did for her. She became completely paralysed in the leg and pelvis area, and thus was unable to get food or water. There was talk of trying to use an old remote-controlled car to move her about, to create a kind of chicken Ironside without the ability to solve crimes.

I have always been clear in my mind about shooting things – I have no problem if I am subsequently going to eat them, or if they are suffering or in distress (unless they are Jeremy Kyle). For two days, however, Chicken Four remained resolutely cheerful as I popped in to chat to her and to stroke her little head. Not being about to eat a chicken that had been paralysed due to unknown causes, it was difficult to know what to do. Then she fell out of her box, shat all over Short Tony’s conservatory and started making piteous noises. Boooooooo.

Interestingly, the other chickens started laying eggs almost immediately after they heard the ‘bang’. They have clearly been intimidated, although not as much as to stop them making two more escape attempts. I have acquired them some nice new hay from the farm, however, to show that I am not all bad.

Booooooo, boooooo and triple boooooo. I have only been chickening for a few weeks and already I have lost around 17% of livestock. Perhaps this is another thing that I am not cut out to do, like arm-wrestling and getting a proper job. I hope that the other five understand. I would be miserable if I thought they hated me.

63 thoughts on “Alas, poor Chicken Four.

  1. AndrewM says:

    You can’t make an omelette without braking a few eggs, apparently.

  2. Gumpher says:

    It’s time that the RSPB should be called.

    People who indulge in random shootings and anal probes are clearly not capable of keeping chickens

  3. Dickie "Touch" Tingles says:

    Poor old Jonny.

    Sensitively written, old boy. While being generally inclined to leave pseudo-funny and mostly frivolous comments, I feel it is in appropriate to do it in this case. Even though you were trying to be brave by talking about turning Four into a chicken-Dalek.

    Perhaps is you wanted to pick off Anne Robinson and young Kyle, you could claim the slaughterings were the result of an unfortunate and repeated ricochet. I would certainly be willing to stand up and testify in your defence.

    Stiff upper lip, old boy. Remember that you’re British.


  4. Dickie "Touch" Tingles says:

    “… if you wanted …” Bollocks and buggeration.

  5. You shot a chicken? Actually, no, scratch that – let’s back up a couple of steps: what kind of maniac would allow a half-wit like you access to a gun in the first place?

    Time for LTLP to step in here, I think…

  6. sandwichfilling says:

    Sad as it may be that Chicken 4 is dead, how can you tell them apart? Don’t all chickens look the same?

  7. Dave says:

    The most heart-wrenching blog post I’ve read today. I was in tears throughout.

  8. greavsie says:

    You need a policy of random coop inspection to deter escape attempts, that’ll keep them guessing.

    I’d also keep an eye out for the following:

    1) Exercise horses appearing.
    2) Practice marching.
    3) Lots of soil appearing on the coop roof.

    I’d also invest in the following:

    1) Searchlights
    2) Watchtowers
    3) A ‘cooler’

  9. Brennig says:

    Mind boggling right out of its space at the thought of doing a chicken in by shooting. You couldn’t wring its neck like Clarrie Grundy in The Archers?

    Look, I obviously mean: you couldn’t wring its neck like Clarrie Grundy in The Archers would have, but I like the image of a pair of hands clasped firmly arounc Clarrieluv’s neck and a quick twist…

  10. Jayne says:

    Did you actually shoot it yourself or did you make Short Tony do it? Either way it’s impressively macho (especially as I’m imagining Chicken Four as the size of something out of Jurassic Park).

    V. sad though. 17% of your future egg output down the Swanee…

  11. Damian says:

    Sorry to hear about that. It’s always sad to lose one. And now we’ll never know whether she could indeed have developed her crime fighting skills to the level where she could have filled Ironside’s rather large seat.

  12. Daryl says:

    In the farming business there is no time for sympathy. You did the right thing. What you really need to do is let one fo your hens out for a late night rendezvous at a neighboring coop where a rooster hangs out. Thus you will be able to regenerate your stock at the price of a lazy hen on her nest for a few weeks.

  13. Fanto says:

    Shooting the chicken seems a bit like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut. I thought neck-wringing was the preferred method of hen-ocide.

  14. i am sad now. I lost two goldfish recently, so i understand

    *deep sigh*

  15. Richard says:

    Wasn’t shooting a tad over the top? I take it was a small air gun and not an over and under Purdey?

  16. Mr Wibble says:

    Sorry to hear about Chicken Four. You did your best.

    I would, however, like to shove an egg up Jere…

  17. Sewmouse says:

    My most sincere condolances on the loss of Chicken Four.

    Assuming condolances are appropriate to the chickenkeeper when said chickenkeeper murders the deceased chicken to death with a gun.

  18. Linda says:

    You have guns in England? I come from Texas where everyone has a gun but I thought they were hard to come by there. Did you cremate the chicken and scatter its ashes somewhere, maybe in the parking lot of the local KFC?

  19. johng says:

    Some of your readers/fans keep referring to ‘Ironside.’ Leave me out of it! LOL.

  20. Steve says:

    Perhaps your friend the “short guy” did something he shouldn’t ….maybe he is a chickenophile or some such thing.It seems stange that after a little anal rummaging the chicken couldn’t walk.
    Are you sure it was only his finger he used?

  21. Eddie 2-Sox says:

    Steve, the correct term is “cockophile”.

    And I am very sad about C4’s demise. Could it be Blue Tongue? Have you checked their mobile phones?

    Or is that Blue Toe? Dammit….

  22. Megan says:

    Very sorry about your loss. I have no doubt that Chicken Four has ascended (in a remote control chariot of glory) to her just reward in Chicken Paradise where life is filled with all good things – like bugs and that and whatever else chickens go for. Probably also a really buff rooster (NOT voiced by Mel however; one must draw the line).

    Must say I immediately flashed back to The Good Life. Did you choose the mafia shot out of deference to Tom?

  23. The Ape says:

    Errr. Is the hay for them to eat ? Or is it straw for them to sleep on ? Presumably you have had the shavings not straw discussion ? Am I confusing you ?

  24. Brennig says:

    I’ve been thinking about this on the way home…

    Did you pluck the carcass, cook it and eat it? Maybe with a nice Chianti?

  25. zed says:

    I think that Jeremy Kyle is in distress AND suffering which makes him shootable regardless.

    Not that I ever watch him, or anything.

  26. Indigo says:

    Like The Ape, I’m worried that you haven’t had the shavings/straw discussion. Are you ready for your next chickeny challenge – massaging a chicken that has impacted crop from eating ….. hay.

  27. cramerj says:

    Go on – what kind of gun did you use?
    Semi or full automatic- and was the bullet soft nose or armour piercing. Future chicken hit men need to know.

  28. NAGA says:

    NO! You should not have shot her. You’ve really cocked up JB. If only you’d of removed the head, she might have regained the use of her legs!

  29. Duck says:

    @8 Greavsie.

    And under no circumstances allow a hot blonde with a baseball glove and ball anywhere near the coop.

  30. AndyB says:

    Perhaps it might make them more at home and less escapey if you took down the “Tone & Jonnys – quality chicken pies” sign and moved it out of their sight?

  31. tim relf says:

    The other five are probably not too traumatised. Chickens aren’t the cleverest of creatures, as you’re no doubt finding out…

  32. Sophie says:

    Poor Chicken Four. A short life but an interesting one …

  33. I can’t help but feel that the zero comments on ‘Epitaph’ represents the awkward silence of 78 people who wished they hadn’t taken the piss quite so much in the previous post.

  34. Richard says:

    OFW, awkward silence is because Jonny turned the comments off out of respect. As one of the world’s top bloggers, Jonny knows what to expect from his public after admitting to wasting his livestock. I like to think that we would all have taken a step back anyway and allowed him to grieve alone.

  35. Lucy says:

    “You have guns in England?”

    Oh dear.

  36. Clunky says:

    Sings “Jonny shot the chicken, but he didn’t shoot the short Tony.” In fact kinda knowing Jonny he probably did but thats for a later post. How many shots did it take? You did manage to point he right way round and stuff or did you have to experiment a bit first?

  37. JonnyB says:

    Hullo Tim Relf and welcome!!!

    Do not insult my chickens. They are exceptionally intelligent, I’ll have you know. One of them is down for Oxford, and Chicken Two is working on a peer-reviewed paper for the British Journal of Haematology.

  38. guyana gyal says:

    This is the ghost that will come back to haunt you, you mark my words. Long live Chicken 4.

  39. tillylil says:

    Is it having a very expensive ‘chicken post mortum’ or have you left it out for the foxes – they like chicken too!

  40. Indigo says:

    We could have a lot of fun guessing the title of Chicken Two’s academic paper. Um, “Blood phenotypes and bum feather plucking in Brahmas”.

    I don’t believe for a minute that Chicken Four was shot – this is the UK. More likely, there was dignity and privacy at the end, in the veterinary surgery.

  41. surly girl says:


    how did you get it to stand still?

    just saying.

  42. Rufus S Later says:

    Having seen “No country for old men” I’m pretty sure I know where JavierB got the inspiration for his character. Did you lend him your compressed air device?

    I think I’ll avoid Norfolk for a bit.

  43. kermit says:

    surly girl, if its legs were paralyzed i doubt it could move about much. come to think of it, i don’t know why a bullet had to be wasted when he could have just thrown a brick at its head.

    he’d have to be a pretty bad shot to miss shooting a paralyzed chicken. besides, i gather the whole affair was quite gallant and civilized – blindfolding the chicken, sounding a trumpet and so forth.

  44. Lilly says:

    Your chicken’s death reminds me of Mikhail Bulgakov’s The Fatal Eggs.

    Has Short Tony recently discovered the ray of life?

  45. surly girl says:

    thanks kermit. now i think about it, it’s not a very good assumption on my part, is it? that moving things ca’t be shot i mean. what about deers and pigeons and foxes and teenagers and Our Brave Boys? durr.

  46. GingerBollox says:

    Has Short Tony made the carcass of Chicken Four in to a glove puppet to keep the kids amused what with his penchant for shoving digits up aforementioned fowl’s poop/egg chute?

  47. I’m sorry for your loss, JohnnyB. It sounds like you did everything you could. Big hugs to you and the remaining chickens.

  48. richard: you can turn comments off???

    to further illustrate my stupidity, i now feel obliged to ask you what OFW stands for. ‘Opelessly Fuddy Woman? Oh Frowsy Wench? Oi F**k Wit? Please shed light before i BMAO.

  49. oh F**K, now i just worked out what OFW stands for and there is NO WAY to DELETE MY COMMENT!!!! forget how stupid i felt THEN, just think about how stupid i feel NOW.

    (NB: one fine weasel is not my real name so it doesn’t register as such)

    Jonny, sorry about this. please, continue with the chicken thing. as you were, folks.

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