“Hey, you girls want some chickens?” One of our neighbours called from his quad bike across the fence. “I got two that I gotta kill today but if you want them it’ll save me the trouble.”
Keelin and I purposefully avoided looking at each other, both of us still feeling guilty over yesterday’s accidental manslaughter of Sparky The Bird owing to tragic sunflower-seed–oesophagus incident.
The old man’s offer seemed a way to absolve ourselves for poor Sparky’s demise, and we agreed.
When he returned a couple of hours later, the two chickens promised had become four chickens and a rooster. We watched as he unloaded the new chickens into our coop, where they immediately slumped into an undignified feathery pile. They haven’t moved since. Not to eat or drink or even lift their heads as the native flock of chickens peck purposelessly at their heads.
Should I be concerned? Perhaps. But I’ve learned most that chickens are rather pitifully stupid. Apologies to any chickens reading this — you’re obviously pretty clever — but I’m sure you’ll agree that as domesticated fowl go, the chicken species are not blessed with much brainpower. It has started to make me question why we insist on eating them.
Having said that, one of our chickens is insistent on tormenting me.
To put the story short, Karen is a bitch.
Every day she escapes from the coop to spend a few hours strutting around the farm, gloating happily to her coop-mates as she finds a place to lay her eggs that will surely be as inconvenient as possible. Like a tedious Easter Egg Hunt, it sometimes takes days to find her nest. This makes for precarious living as you never know when you’ll stumble across a neat pile of green blue eggs, silently mocking you.
Karen’s eggs are a different colour and shape to the others. I think this is because they are filled with malice.
While I am taunted by a chicken, there are plenty of other animals at the farm to occupy my day. First thing in the morning, I check on the horses. Now, horses may seem very nonchalant, but in reality they are mischievous little buggers. Licking posts, standing in their water troughs, eating each other’s poo, getting their heads stuck in fences, rolling in mud, eating rocks, hitting each other with feed pans, eating each other’s blankets…
When you see a horse doing these things, they act like they’ve been caught, and sheepishly take their feet out of their water/get their heads out of fences/put down whatever they’re eating and go back to mindlessly grazing. Don’t mind me.
Willem is a 2 year old German Shepard. He will follow you everywhere you go, often enthusiastically shoving a squeaky toy into your groin. More often than not, Willem is in the way.
It’s hard to be cross with him, though, because he just doesn’t understand why everybody is so serious. Surely more hours of the day could be dedicated to tug of war? Between chasing the horses (read: avoiding hooves to the face), terrorising the chickens, and dutifully managing the farm’s large stick distribution, Willem barely has time for his favourite activity: splashing around in the koi pond, being sure to soak you.
There are also a couple of cats, Lola and Sarah. Lola has the mercurial personality of a typical house cat: disdainful while being relentlessly clingy. Sarah, on the other hand, is much more brazen in her narcissism, forcing her way through your window’s insect screens in the middle of the night just to drop a lizard head on your pillow. You’re welcome, her yellow eyes seem to say, and you know you are pitilessly inferior to her.
Please enjoy this series of other photos from the farm. I title this collection: animals being weird and/or unhelpful.
Although most of my day is spent trying to clear up the mess or prevent a disaster caused by one animal or another, I can’t complain. Every now and again, when Sarah snuggles up to me on the couch or Willem licks my hand, it warms my heart. Call me corny all you like, but the unconditional love that animals offer to humans is a truly precious thing and I feel very fortunate to feel it.
I’ve just spotted Karen out of my window. You little shit.
Want to know when Karen eventually gets eaten by a coyote? Put your email in and get the latest farm news straight to your inbox.