The Complete Hen

The Complete Hen

Now and again I like to see
A hen who still roams wide and free,

Who crosses roads and flies o’er ditches,
Who cackles till she gets the stitches,

Who hunts for grasshoppers in the stubble,
And scratches merrily in old rubble,

Who cocks her head when the roosters crow,
Who knows all things a hen should know:

When to obey the housewife’s call
And when to pay no heed at all,

Where grubs grow best, and how to roost
On some low branch without a boost;

And last of all, to prove her worth
(Her nearness to the rights of earth)

Let her become an agitator,
Fixed enemy to the incubator,

And obstinately steal her nest
And shelter chicks beneath her breast.

Elizabeth Coatsworth.

Our hens are quite "complete", as Elizabeth Coatsworth put it. They have interbred with game hens, fighters and bantams in the village, and no longer lay "one a day" like good rhode islanders should. They disappear for weeks and reappear with fourteen more mongrel non-layers just like themselves. They are fiendishly difficult to catch, wild and untrusting. Mum's adventures in chicken-catching keep us busy plotting ways and means: Building traps, sneaking up in the dead of night, shooting at them and spiking the feed with rum have FAILED, sometimes spectacularly! We need a new plan. A good plan. These chickens have to go, if Mum is going to have any success starting again with a nice new flock of friendly layers.

Keeping chickens has it's ups and downs, as I've mentioned before... The eggs are so amazingly delicious that for years the boys didn't like to eat "shop eggs" because they had "no taste". "REAL" chicken eggs that you go and steal from under a chicken before breakfast are creamy, tasty, and have bright orange yolks that stand up like a ping-pong ball when you fry 'em. Not much like the watery flavourless stuff we eat now since our chickens have given up producing!

So we're going to eat the chickens, à la The Swedish Chef. But first we have to catch them. Does anyone have a plan? Any brilliant ideas? Put your thinking caps on. We're getting desperate here!


witchypoo said…
Pretend to be an egg, then when one tries to incubate you, name it 'dinner'
Islandgirl said…
Bringing Chris the chicken catcher over now...I am sure we are going to have some hilarious footage for U Tube. My brother in law better give us a lovely wedding present for de chickenizing the place before he gets there! haha
Nan Sheppard said…
So the "sneak up on them in the dark and dive-tackle them" method has been the most successful so far! Not to mention hilarious!

Six chickens were caught and bagged tonight. Only 749 to go!
Islandgirl said…
With a little CLUCK we'll catch them all!! haha
Unknown said…
I love that the hens have gone out and found reinforcements in 'the hood'. said…
Buy a fox? ;-)
Anonymous said…
Borrow a dachshund. Notorious chicken catchers. Will clean out that place for you in no time. When we were young in mayaro ours used to come back with white feather beards and contented macajuel looks on their faces.
Got 6 eager ones right now chomping on the bit. Just say the word. Of course, they will eliminate all other wildlife within their reach too. But what's a gazillion iguanas give or take 1 or 2?

Islandgirl said… - some UTube chicken catchers

and because it just isn't that easy here is part two!

Our chicken hunt photos:
Cheffie-Mom said…
Witchypoo's comment cracked me up - "pretend to be an egg". Sounds like a plan to me!
Anonymous said…
Invite them to Blogher!
bound to get a few old fowls
hah hah hah