Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Hattie and the fox

Hattie was a big black hen. She gave us eggs and scratched in our garden and ate insects. Hattie was boss hen in our chook run. She was a fierce mother to her chicks, which sheltered beneath her soft, glossy wings and found sanctuary there as they ventured beyond the hen house to explore the farthest corners of our rambling garden in the forest.


A neighbourhood dog killed Hattie yesterday – along with all of our hens and the chicks they had raised. The netted orchard, that we had thought was impenetrable to dogs and foxes, was strangely silent as I walked down to check for eggs and empty the kitchen scrap bucket. There was no throaty clucking to greet me as they launched themselves at the cereal dregs and fought over the last piece of cheese, nor warm just-laid eggs for little hands to gather. A lone rooster strutted anxiously between the feathered bodies that lay scattered around the fruit trees. The rooster made a dash for freedom and then only the ants remained, their trails connecting the dead as they returned their bodies to the earth.

A friend gave us our chickens soon after we moved to the south coast from the city a year ago. We named them after storybook chickens that triumphed over the wily fox and nourished their growing bodies with organic grains, greens and kitchen scraps. The day our three-year-old collected their first eggs one cold wintery day felt like a watershed on our journey towards growing our own organic food.

This blog will follow our journey towards a simple life growing our own organic food where the forest meets the sea and fending off the foxes in whatever form they appear.

Chick-pea the rooster

2 comments:

  1. I would love to think you have been exercising your creative writing muscle. Please tell me it it's not true!! You write so beautifully. The subject. . . tragic beyond belief.

    rachel xo

    ps Welcome to the blogosphere. I think I'm going to enjoy visiting here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Rachel. It is sadly all true, and I miss my girls dearly. Not feeling quite ready to give my heart to a chicken again while there is a killer dog on the loose.

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