Wednesday, January 25, 2017

The Joy of Chickens Revisited

A look back at the early days of keeping hens in Springhill. The day the reporter called. Summer 2006.

The Hen House

The hens of Springhill talk to our reporter about their life in Cullybackey.

Reporter: So how long have you been living here ladies?

Attracta: Well Patsy and I have been here for yonks. Maybe three months now. Dympna came later and wee Bernie has been here a lifetime.

Reporter: And are you happy here at Springhill?

Dympna: Happy? Happy is not the word for it. Living with Nellybert here in Springhill is sheer, utter ecstasy. I was down with Clint for a while but to tell you the truth that crowd of fowl that he has there are a complete shower. They would have ate the arse of you as soon as look at you. And I mean ate the arse of you literally. I hadn't a tail feather to my name when I came here. But Attracta and the girls are lovely and made me very welcome. Plus the grub's better here.

Reporter: If you don't mind me saying you have a lovely set of tail feathers on you now.

Dympna: I have, haven't I? I'll admit I'm rather proud of my booty. Nelly calls me Dympna Fluffybum.

Reporter: Bernie you were here all along. What do you think of your new companions?

Bernie: Oh they're not bad. I'd been lonely for a long time ever since my sister Bianca died. Mind you they've short memories because when they first came I totally took them under my wing. They looked up to me. They had to because I was the only one able to roost in the rafters. But now they're more settled they forget that I'm the senior hen around here. But still what can you expect of hens brought up in a battery cage. No real refinement.

Reporter: So what is your typical day like?

Attracta: Nelly lets us out of the house in the morning.

Dympna: And feeds us. Yummy corn and stuff.

Patsy: Then we head off to the lawn.

Bernie: They call it a lawn. It's more like a rough field. 

Dympna: But we like rough fields. We potter around the compost heap as well. We like our five portions of fruit and veg too y'know.

Attracta: Dympna or Patsy might lay an egg. I'm not laying at the moment. Bernie might lay one as well but she's very sleekit and you'd never find it.

Bernie: It's no business of yours whether I lay an egg or not!

Attracta: Well all I'm saying is it's not very loyal to Nellybert after all they do for us.

Bernie: Shut your beak!

Nelly's reward - a new laid egg

Reporter: Girls, girls! Calm down. Now, Patsy you're very quiet. How have you found living with Nelly and Bert?

Patsy: I adore Nelly.

Dympna: She's Nelly's wee pet.

Reporter: Are you Patsy?

Patsy: I don't know. She is always picking me up and stroking me.

Attracta: That's because she can catch you easiest what with your gammy leg and all.

Patsy: Nelly was very kind to me at the start. When my leg was really bad just after I came out of the cages she'd hand feed me when youse ones wouldn't let me near the food.

Dympna: You soon learned to hold your own in that department you gorb!

Patsy: I need to keep my strength up.

Attracta: Then there's you sitting like a lady in the crook of Nelly's arm while she goes about the place lifting pots and stones to find you slugs to eat.

Patsy: Mmmmmm... slugs. So yummy.

Reporter: It sounds like you're all pretty spoiled here.

Patsy: Mmmm. Maybe. I heard Nellybert's friend Swisser saying that Nelly won't be happy until we're all roosting at the end of her bed. I'd like that.

Dympna: There's one thing I'd like.

Reporter: What's that?

Dympna: A Cock.

Attracta: Honestly Dympna!

Dympna: Pity to waste the best bit of booty in Cullybackey.

Reporter: Ahem! Well, we'll finish here I think. Thank you. ladies. I've enjoyed talking to you and I'm sure the readers will too.
Paddy supervises the chicken's breakfast
Bernie sneaks off

THE COMMENTS (Nine! That never happens nowadays)

Blogger Ronni said...
My mom was just the same with her hens. She had one whose toes curled inward. Mom called her "Pidgy" and hand-fed her blackberries. Lhe ws a black hen, and laid brown eggs. Her eggs had purple spots during blackberry season. She had four hens that were pets rather than livestock.

There were some hens that she didn't get attached to. We had maybe a couple of dozen. After they quit laying, they were soup candidates, one and all.

My dad, having been sent out to kill a hen, killed Pidgy by mistake.

He almost lost his happy home!
9:02 pm
Blogger Sandra said...
If that interviewer doesn't get a Pulitzer, there's no justice in the world.
9:55 pm
Anonymous Ganching said...
A very nice wee story that maybe you could send into the Ireland's Own. Is it normal now in your part of the world to feed hens foxgloves?
10:17 pm
Blogger Nelly said...
Aye Ronni I love those hens and I don't care if they are the most expensive free range eggs in the world.

Sandra I thought the interviewer went pretty easy on them. There wasn't one question about politics and what it's like living as Catholic hens in a Protestant stronghold.
10:18 pm
Blogger Nelly said...
Ganching the hens don't eat foxgloves. Sure that would stop their wee hearts clean dead. You know how it is when photographers from Hello and the like come to see your lovely home - you tart it up a bit. That foxglove was borrowed from Pearlie to brighten up the exterior of their house. I'm sure you don't eat the decor in your lovely home.
10:22 pm
Blogger Sandra said...
Maybe the hens are all on for the Peace Process?

D'you know I once saw an advert in the lonely farmers section of "Ireland's Own," inserted by a worthy chap who was looking for a lady 30-35, non-smoker etc.. However his specific tastes came last: "Must be comfortable in Wellingtons."

He wasn't looking for a pig in a poke.
1:24 am
Blogger Nelly said...
Or what about the Lonely Heart who specified that his desired companion 'must have own tractor. Please enclose photo of tractor'
7:57 am
Blogger Sandra said...
That's the kind of man I want - straightforward. At least you would know where you stood with a man like that.
10:02 am
Blogger EveMaryBD said...

I get their clawprints on a Managerial Contract right away if I were you otherwise Max Clifford will be sniffing round...I'd say there's a reality tv show in them for sure [if things got a bit boring you could introduce the cock!]. Think of the "spin-offs": books accompanying the series, Jonathan Ross, Parky, their own line of chicken-care products, maybe even a Hollywood "filim"...the possibilities are endless.

Get in there quick tho' My farmer friend Bumpy has a couple of real stars in his yard [I had a lovely poached egg from them this morning] together with a wayward Goose or two thrown in for good measure and I'm sure I saw that reporter mooching round the sheds..
11:48 am

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