Sunday, February 19, 2006

new spring chicks


i went to the feed n seed to look at the new bantams. and i reflected with sorrow on the towers of birds burning because of the avian flu. ducks and poultry and wild song birds. birds who are now making their way from africa back to europe. the storks who build impressive nests on the spires of cathedrals in france and spain will face execution upon their arrival home. i live with two free ranging hens of tremendous personality. i know their language well, the sharp report of annoyance, the trill of danger nearby, the chortle of a finding a juicy insect hidden below a mat of sodden leaves. i have had this pair for two years now. they are good little layers and outstanding sentries.

driving behind a tractor trailer filled with broilers on their way to slaughter i know that if these birds had lived as my pets red and dovey, each one of them would be a distinct individual. when i had brick, the chunkette brown bantam hen, she was so insecure that she was being left behind or ignored by the other chickens. it was heartbreaking to watch and impossible to set right. the famous pecking order we have come to know as an expression was played out before me in a social circle of hens. how odd to see the largest hen was the most fragile emotionally. and that ping, the golden campine so slight she was like a balloon with some feathers pasted onto it, was a fierce creature who dominated the laying box letting no other birds in. this was too much for red and dovey who were with me first and felt they deserved some respect for being the pioneers. in the end, ping and brick went to live with another chicken lady.

i read a story about a little girl in turkey who died of bird flu. the situation was the family flock was compromised with exposure to the flu and had to be destroyed. the child loved the chickens and kissed them all good bye as the distraught parents discovered too late. i know what is is to love a chicken. there are ten billion ways to die. in my own barn or forest here i could encounter a brown recluse or a murderous redneck meth addict or a cottonmouth, or die on the winding country road where speeding and not maintaining lanes are everyday, or smashed by an ice laden dead branch or shot by a poacher. so i will continue to enjoy my hennies and let the chips fall.

9 Comments:

At 12:50 PM, Blogger Mr Q said...

I love chickies when they just have broken free of the shell. They are so adorable, they remind me of 2 year old babies.

 
At 2:25 PM, Blogger infinitesimal said...

I used to have to gather the eggs from my grammas farm in the mornings and those hens SCARED ME I was about...11. It was like they were staring me down, and I was like, I so totally do not want to stick my hand under your bum and collect your children for breakfast food....and they were like: Hey, you think we can take this bitch if we all gang up on her?

I like seeing live chicks way better than I like eating eggs.

(Burp)

 
At 3:48 PM, Blogger native said...

well it is like an easter egg hunt here. they might lay anywhere and so its never the stress fest you endured having to reach under. BTW infi, i MISSED first blood. snow so heavy i lost the satellite. like your new pic!

hi mr q. thanks for stopping by. i looked at all your photos. theyre really nice.

 
At 12:38 PM, Blogger infinitesimal said...

Hey Chicken Lady!

You forgot one predator: The pissed off Arab bound to cut off your head!

That's what everyone is squawking about lately, as if they are going to storm us tomorrow brandishing swords.

It makes me want to come visit you and the hennies, I can bring a tape or DVD of "First Blood", which, I missed also.

How many times have you seen it? Me, like maybe 15 times.

 
At 12:52 PM, Blogger native said...

infi,

i live among the "last stand" type of southerners. any fatwah headed this way is gonna need allah, shiva and anybody else they can get to chop heads around here! right up the road is where eric rudolph hid out for two years, playing his own bin laden game. this is probably one of the most heavily armed counties in all of the blue ridges. for now i will stay tuned into spiders and snakes!

first blood on DVD. im gettin it!

 
At 10:40 PM, Blogger ffff said...

Beautiful bantam new chicks. You are keeping them so clean and they look happy. My sister loves chickens and has a dozen or so. She reckons she can look at something in her hands and know whether they will like to eat it or not. Thinks she was a chook in a previous life. She loves them and each season has a few babies to replace the ones taken by foxes which keep her constantly sad by their ravaging of her babies.
she won't eat her own chooks but the eggs they lay make the most beautiful omlettes you have ever seen or eaten. BTW eggs aren't babies, unless they are fertilised. They are like just ovulations, that is all. Would happen anyway.

 
At 3:29 PM, Blogger ardlair said...

After all the blog surfing I have done I thought I had heard it all.

But the line " I know what it is to love a chicken" is a new one on me.

 
At 5:50 PM, Blogger Alina Chau said...

WOW!! YOur photos are sooo coool!! VERY CUTE chickens, and beautiful scenery pictures!! Love your artworks as well!! Amazing stuffs!

 
At 8:19 AM, Anonymous wd said...

one of the things told to me by a wise old man on his deathbed, was to "let the eggs be the eggs".....................wd

 

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