*The following comes from a frightened mind & represents only my own fairly but not likely 100% accurate memory of my terrifying childhood experience with a very scary hen & her Borg Chicken Collective.*
Chickens are like The Borg of the farming world in that the whole flock appears to share a single collective consciousness. The community brain randomly singles out one poor bugger to torment &, together, they'll pick at it & pluck its' feathers until the thing is so gotdam ugly that even the dog doesn't want to eat it. By the time it is bald & dazed, I have no doubt the poor bird is just praying for someone like the Saint to come along & put it out of its' misery. Once that bird is dead, the flock chooses a new victim & the cycle just repeats itself endlessly.
|Saint with wild Prairie Chicken - Saint is FAST, yo.|
When I was a child my mother had an old hen who was missing an eye which she'd probably had pecked out at chicken fight club where she then (enraged) laid waste to a circle of bird onlookers who suddenly decided to choose a different victim.
Blind hen was old. Not sure if she even laid eggs anymore, but she sure loved to set on a batch. She would walk along the row of nesting boxes, looking for the one with the biggest clutch, & that is where she would settle.
Because she had only the peeper & just a tiny piece of the flock brain, OneEye was easily startled & would furiously peck first & ask questions later. I was terrified of that damned bird. Nonetheless, it was my job to fetch up the eggs every morning.
Carrying a wire egg basket, I'd stop by my dad's workbench & borrow one of his big welding gloves. Drawing the big leather glove up over my little hand & snugging it uncomfortably into my armpit, I trudged down to the hen house with my stomach churning. Hidden behind the water jack was a mason jar that I'd smuggled out of moms' canning supplies stash in the root cellar of the house. Better to go into battle with more armour than less, I reasoned.
With the enormous glove covering my left arm & cradling the mason jar close to my thumping heart, crouching low so as not to be seen, I'd approach the box that cradled OneEye & her treasures. Slipping my right hand into the jar, I'd creep slowly towards the evil white hens' blind side. My heart would about pound right out of my chest as I imagined her flying out of the nest & pecking out my eyes, leaving me more blind than she in some righteous blast of poetic Borg-chicken outrage.
Leaning as far backwards as possible, I'd scoot the egg basket under the box with my foot. Straightening up & drawing what each time I imagined would be the last lungful of oxygen that I would ever enjoy, I'd slit my eyes almost closed & commence to threaten the hens' blind side with my glass enclosed fist. As OneEye attacked the jar with frenzied bloodlust, my gloved hand shot out & snatched her up by her scrawny throat. Ripping her from the box & throwing her to the ground in one practiced motion, I'd kick her as hard & as far away as I could manage. In a ballet of terror, I'd frantically tuck warm eggs into the basket & book it the hell out of there with the fiery hen of death & her minions in hot pursuit.
My dad would catch me leaning up against the closed door, wild-eyed & panting. He never seemed to notice the fumes of panic rolling off of me like breakers in a storm; every day he'd say the same thing, "You put that glove back on my workbench now, you hear me Girlie?"
It was probably that there were children to spare after all... you know, if either The Borg or the fear had just outright killed me.
You imagine starting every day of your childhood fleeing for your life from an angry chicken mob & tell me that you would not have issues...
Somehow I think I'd maybe like to cling to what's left of my sanity for another year.
Rabbit meat is also delicious, & they are much more cuddly & cute.
Oops, sorry - the Collective made me say that.