I love my 3 chickens. They are sweet little things that follow me around the garden making soothing chirrup sounds. They are some of the cutest creatures around and provide me with a daily meal. Not a bad effort for pseudo-pets.
Of course, as they say, there is one in every crowd (or flock, as the case may be). And ours is BRONWYN!!!!!
She is the largest hen by a good margin, lays the biggest eggs and is the most enthusiastic (not quite aggressive) eater of our 3 chooks. And she keeps ending up in our veggie patch.
We’ve spent considerable effort in encircling our veggie patch in chicken wire. It deters the chickens and (most of the time) the bandicoot and possums. Or it makes it enough of a hassle so that they find easier foraging grounds elsewhere. So when Bronwyn is caught inside, it is really frustrating.
Most of the time we find her before much (if any) damage is done. What’s best is when the silly thing gets flustered by being trapped on the wrong side of the wire, or maybe she’s proud, whatever it is, she starts squawking. We rush to make sure she’s okay (we’re well into a boy-crying-wolf situation) only to find her looking decidedly un-guilty. There’s nothing we can do but to lift her over the fence and issue a stern warning for her never to repeat her misdemeanour. She ignores us and we all remain friends.
One of the more heartbreaking of her discoveries is the ripening strawberries. She has quite an eye for pink and nibbles each berry with even a slight blush of red.
A couple of days ago I wasn’t surprised to find a spinach plant pulled out of the ground and lying there going limp in the heat. She loves spinach so no doubt gave a good tug. I’m sure she was frustrated when the whole plant sprung out of the ground. She’d have been unable to rip a nice bite-sized piece so would have abandoned the plant to wither and die. (I replanted it and cut back all the leaves – feeding them to the chooks – and it looks to be recovering.)
Weirdly she’s also started hunting potatoes. I have 2 beds with potatoes in them, both have had substantial diggings. She doesn’t eat anything, just digs them up so that I have had to re-bury a good half-dozen potatoes. Since chickens aren’t supposed to eat potato leaves, this taste is double worrying.
Her latest misadventure was a good dig along the radish row. She likes radish leaves but didn’t bother eating them, just scratched up the tiny seedlings looking for grubs or maybe just enjoying the feel of soil between her toes. VERY FRUSTRATING.
I remember her when she was such a sweet young thing. Afraid of her own shadow, shy, demure. Ah, the good ol’ days.
We’re pretty sure we now know her main entrance point. Frank’s caught her leaning and stepping on the wire at a low point. We’ve added another row of wire there so maybe we’re okay… for now.