“Become dust - & they will throw thee in the air; Become stone - & they will throw thee on glass." Muhammad Iqbal *Beyond the bushes, boiling with dust, is 4Shoes West boundary road.

Monday, 4 May 2015

The Borg Chicken Collective

In a bid to become more self-sufficient, we have recently begun considering adding some chickens to the 4Shoes. I say 'considering' because I'm not entirely convinced that I can actually touch a chicken, even now. As a child, I hated chickens - chickens are the root of why birds in general have always kind of freaked me out. I do love me some chicken meat though. Can I get over my irrational fear of birds for the promise of fresh eggs &/or delicious meat in my refrigerator? Not. Sure.
*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.
Charming. No?
Saint with wild Prairie Chicken - Saint is FAST, yo.
Chickens appear to be notoriously bad parents. Hens will lay eggs & go on about their business without even looking back. Other hens will come & lay their eggs in that same nest & also abandon the lot.
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. 


  1. A kicking story. haha. It does not sound like you're up for "Chicken Whisperer" of the year or anything. My parents raised chickens, too, and my dad always killed the mean ones. Maybe you could do the same? I would love to get some, but I think our dogs and/or coyotes would keep that venture from being very successful.

  2. Hey Linda,
    "kill the mean ones"...
    an idea that might include most of the Collective maybe.

  3. Judi -
    Aaaaaggghhh!!! (panic attack)

  4. Your story reminded me of my one chicken experience. When I was in college, my sorority borrowed the home of a visual effects expert in the horror flick industry to hold a weekend retreat. When I used the toilet, I found myself surrounded by monster heads staring at me. That gave me the willies, and then when I walked out into the backyard in the dark, this chicken charged me. I ran screaming back into the house. Each time we went outside, that hen picked me out of the crowd and chased me. When the time came to put the hen away in its house for bed, it wouldn't let anyone near it, so the girls decided to have me run into the hen house and have it follow me. It worked, and I had to squeeze out the door and shut it quickly behind me. They claimed the chicken liked me. I thought it wanted to peck me to death.

  5. Nuz, once that evil chicken targeted you, I think you're lucky to have made it out of there with all your feathers!


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