THE TALE OF THE TWICE-BURIED CHOOK
Well, we went to bed a family of eight and woke up a family of seven.Â
I didnâ€™t know whether to be happy or sad.
Looking out the back window, it was hard to know what that was in the middle of the lawn.Â It might have been one of the kids’ jumpers, a half deflated black basketball, a really fat, sleeping crow.Â I really had no idea.Â So it wasnâ€™t until I got a bit closer that the truth revealed itself.
During the night, one of our chooks carked it.Â It was Coke, one of the originals. Weâ€™d bought three when we decided to turn our fairly normal back yard into a working urban hobby farm.Â There was Fanta (an orange chook) Sprite (a white chook) and Coke (the black chook).
Fanta went down a while ago.Â Itâ€™s hard to know how to say this in a pleasant way, but I think she was euthanised by our dog, Spud. Â
To be fair, thatâ€™s before weâ€™d been absolutely clear with Spud about the rules governing her behaviour around the chickens – that they were not play things, or toys, or mid-afternoon snacks, but an integral part of our family. Once she understood that, everythingâ€™d been going along swimmingly in the back yard. The dog and two chooks have been the best of friends.
The concern is that now with Coke out of the hen house – and, this time, the dog had nothing to do with it -Â the balance might be out.
As for not knowing whether to be happy or sad about the loss, youâ€™d have to experience urban chickens to understand their impact.Â You canâ€™t leave them in the coop all day because technically, the eggs wouldnâ€™t be free-range, which is kind of the point of the urban chook.
So you let them run free during daylight hours.Â And, once theyâ€™re out and about, they crap. They crap in their coop, too, but they crap everywhere else, as well. The little buggers squirt everywhere they go.Â All the time.Â Constantly.Â At the back door, under the outdoor table, on the chairs, on the doormat; everywhere.Â Someone should do a thesis on how a bird can eat a bowl of food but crap a bucketâ€™s worth, you know?
So when I saw Coke had settled in for the longest sleep, I was sad, but was also, secretly in a donâ€™t-tell-the-kids way, kind of happy.Â I mean, itâ€™s a chicken, not a dog.
Â Then I had to work out what to do with her.Â
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