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Eleven chickens. Eleven!!!

Honestly, I do not know how I get in to these things. One minute I have a few chickens trotting around in my garden, the next minute I have become some sort of emergency chicken looker-after and advice service.

I slurp down my morning tea and hare across the road to my first appointment.

I am growing a bit concerned about the Vicarage chickens. They do not seem to eat much. Here I am, dashing to their immediate relief, a chicken knight in shining armour, Egg Adair – but they have not even eaten their dinner from yesterday. Or the day before. I try to encourage them by making hungry chicken noises and flapping my arms and miming eating things, but they are not at all interested. I take their eggs, thoughtfully.

It seems apparent that they have anorexia. I am not sure whether I should feel responsible for this. They are a year or so old, and I have just introduced six healthy fine young pedigree chicken specimens into the Village to compete with them. They definitely have a self-image problem, and I do not know what to do to address this, apart from point out to them that one of ours got shot, so things are not all bad for them. I will speak to the Vicaragers on their return.

Eleven chickens!!! I am like some Norfolk version of Bernard Matthews.

I zip round the corner to Big A’s. His chickens start throwing themselves at the wire as soon as they see me approaching with food. I open their door, checking for post, and they mob me, surrounding, jostling and squawking. I am surprised nobody has made a horror movie about chickens. I tip their food into their tin and they launch themselves in it with ravening beaks. This tin was totally full up yesterday.

They are clearly bullemic. It is fairly obvious what has happened: as rescued battery hens, they are enjoying eating things other than mashed-up pieces of other chickens, but are alarmed that they are putting on weight quickly. If I search hard enough I will find some chicken sick. It is very sad. I take the eggs and stomp home.

My chickens are happy as always. They are the best chickens in the Village, not that I am competitive dad or anything, oh no. I would get some work done, but by the time I have finished chickening it is almost nightfall, and there are emails in my inbox from people who have chicken problems and have discovered my expertise by using the internet.

This is probably how Dr Raj Persaud started. I would start penning a chicken column for the quality Sundays, but I cannot get to my desk for eggs. I am proud to have demystified chickens for the masses, but it is perhaps time to move on a bit.

34 Comments

  1. I believe there’s a centre in Norwich for eating disorders. Perhaps you should make an appointment for the chickens and go along as interpreter. You seem to be quite an eggspert at flapping and squawking etc. . .

  2. Do you have any ideas for your next life-enhancing move, or would you like helpful suggestions?

  3. Please don’t mistake me as a doubter or nay sayer but does all of this take place in Second Life?

  4. “some Norfolk version of Bernard Matthews.”
    genius!

  5. I have never played on the Second Life, I am afraid. I would have to be one of these people that plays games on the internet when they are meant to be working, and that would never be me.

  6. Poor eating-disorder-ridden chickens! You should set up a clinic for them, or at the very least have a phone line they can call anonymously for help. Chickenline, or something like that.

  7. Maybe the vicarage chickens misunderstood the “hungry chicken noises” and thought you wanted to eat THEM. They are frightened to put on weight in case it encourages you to slaughter them.

  8. Who gets the parsons nose at the vicarage, one wonders?

  9. “Vicaragers”? So where’s your bloody vicar, then? Booted out to make way for some poncy hedge-fund manager and his botoxed wife “who’s so active in charity”, I suppose?

    What a sad excuse for a village you are – everyone a rich transplant, Marie Antoinetting about the place with their damned Louis Vuitton chickens! Roll on avian flu or the guillotine, I say. And when the reckoning comes, you’ll have to face it without benefit of clergy…

  10. I think I would lose my appetite if those who looked after me disappeared and left me in the care of a clucking madman.

    I hope Big A’s chooks at least get a postcard though

  11. Headline in national paper:

    “Hick with Dick Saves Chicks”

  12. First Ivan abuses your village as Potemkin, now Louis the Sixteenth. Sounds more like the Village in the Prisoner to me, what with the mysteriously disappearing Vicar and other neighbours. Are you Number 6 or 2?

  13. Personally, Lisa, I’ve always thought of Jonny as a number two…

  14. Oooh, the return of poo humour! Thanks Ivan, I missed it, since Jonny has been too preoccupied with his chickens and bowls to be properly funny.

  15. Well, quite! What’s a bowl movement without a little poo at the end of it, after all?

  16. Maybe you should try your hand at chicken whispering… I bet you could make a very decent living as a chicken whisperer.

  17. Not Emus or Ostriches!!

  18. Seems no-one has caught on to the fact that you probably got mixed up yesterday, fed one lot twice and the other lot not at all. That is what happened, isn’t it??

    Poor poooor chickens…

  19. Which is why I’d never buy a battery hen, or the fruits of a battery hen.

    Glad to hear you’re providing them some sort of rehabilitation!

  20. I guess you’ve never heard of “Poultrygeist: Night of the Chicken Dead”. But to be fair: it’s only half horror. The other half is musical.
    Poultrygeist

  21. Pretty soon they will start taking crack cocaine and commiting suicide.

    I hope you are glad that you raised the bar so high.

  22. “some Norfolk version of Bernard Matthews.”

    I thought Bernard Matthews was a Norfolk dumpling or am I missing something here?

    or is this blog just too clever for a fellow ‘bootiful’ Norfolk maiden!

  23. I thought the vile Bernard Matthews was in Norfolk too. Oh dear, must have missed something, you are too clever for a Suffolk lass it seems.

  24. Didn’t the esteemed Dr Raj recently have to own up to making up or copying heaps of his “research”? I do hope that you’re not teasing us vis your chickens monsieur ;o)

  25. What will you write? From The Edge Of the Coop? Then you can copy other people’s stuff and say you were over-worked and didn’t know what you were doing?

  26. Just last night I watched “Black Sheep” – a movie about what happens when genetic engineering and ovine farming gets out of hand. If you liked “Poultrygeist” you may like “Black Sheep”! I should warn you that it is more gory, but quite as funny.

  27. Actually – Black Sheep is half horror, half comedy. Not musical at all!

  28. Sure-fire cure for the vicar’s anorexics: chickens do love them some Soylent Green.

  29. There is some disturbing chatter in the newsmedia about poultry rustling. I do hope you have decent security installed.

  30. NAGA- Very Helpful Person

    Have you not been saying Grace at the Vicarage?

    Why not try your hand at Snail Farming JB? Collect several dustbin lids – place in garden downwards – go out late at night with torch and trousers on – harvest snail by the bucket full.

    If the LTLP won’t cook them up for the Bowls BBQ, then try some tossed in garlic for the fussy chickens. Just tell them it’s eggscargots.

  31. What have you been doing whilst I’ve been away? Precious little blogging. As for chickens eating dead chickens that’s a sure fore way of starting mad chick disease.
    And B Matthews and Norfolk is pure Jonnyb – like dogg. And just to be clear who do you intend plaguriarising?

  32. Eggscargots made me laugh – hence fore for fire.

  33. “chickening” – I had no idea that was a verb.

  34. “Chickening” is a gerund, Jenny. “Chicken” is a phrasal verb (when accompanied by “out”, as in, eg, “Jonny thought about marrying the LTLP but chickened out again, the illiterate little toad”). And Jonny, like his famous amphibious peer Toad of Toad Hall, aspires to whimsicality but really just needs a good kicking. Hope that clears up any remaining confusion…

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