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Learning to Speak Chicken

I have realised, to my absolute horror, that I am now completely fluent in “Chicken”. Let me just remind you that it was NOT my idea to get 3 chickens (Itchy, Scratchy and Dusty) in the first place. I had merely agreed to buying Kayla a new puppy, and somehow ended up coming home with two Jack Russells instead of one, and 3 chickens instead of new seedlings for my garden. 

Stephen’s side of the story is that he accidentally slipped and fell while at the pet shop, and instead of thanking the owner for helping him up, said “And we’ll also take three Bantam chickens to go please”. Which is all fine and well, except for the fact that I am the one who has to feed four dogs, three chickens and one child every morning. Before I have even had my first cup of coffee.

Femail030.jpgNow to be fair, the first 3 months as The Owners Of Chickens were quite heavenly. The naughty puppies took a well-deserved break from chewing my outdoor couch and cleverly chased all three chickens over the wall into the neighbour’s house, where they stubbornly refused to come back other than for a quick bite to eat and a stint at shouting abuse at the puppies from the safety of the adjoining wall. My neighbour was admittedly not as delighted as I was, seeing as though she was now being woken at 5.30am each morning by Itchy (the rooster) screeching outside her window. Matters were not helped during a recent thunderstorm when half of my tree fell over into her garden, dragging her brand new electric fence with it. It took two bunches of flowers and some oscar-winning grovelling on my part for her to turn off the braai and take her Chicken Seasoning back inside with her.

Sadly (for me) the chickens have since decided that life is FAR more fun on our side of the wall as we now have spinach and asparagus in our veggie garden. They have also figured out that they have a very obedient owner who rushes out whenever they come to the kitchen door asking for food. Which is about twice a bloody day, and usually when I am on the phone to a Very Important Client.  

However, the true extent of my mad decline into The Owners of Chickens became evident a few weeks ago, when I had finished feeding dogs/ birds/ chickens and children, and was busy unpacking the dishwasher.
Stephen: What on EARTH is going on outside? Why are the chickens making such a noise?

Me (while frowning at a less-than-clean glass): It’s not ALL the chickens - it’s just Itchy and he’s a bit upset.

Stephen: Maybe the puppies are chasing him? I’ll just go have a look.

Me: Don’t bother. That’s not his “scared” screech.
Stephen: The chicken has a SCARED screech?

Me (sighing): Yes, it’s different from his “upset” cackle. It’s more … CROSS sounding.

Stephen: I think you need to start spending more time at the office instead of working from home.

Me: Go and check on him then. My guess is that the neighbour is backwashing his pool. Itchy doesn’t like the sucking sound the filter makes.

Stephen: Are you even LISTENING to yourself?

(Two minutes later)
Me: And? Is he okay?

Stephen: Yes, the neighbour is backwashing the pool.
Me: HA!

Stephen: What can I say? You were right. It must feel so amazing to be able to understand the chickens so well. Hey, where are you going?

Me: To shoot myself.

It gets worse. Recent developments have shown that Itchy is completely untrustworthy around the female folk, as is evidenced by the four baby chickens that are now also roaming around the garden. And lately, my kitchen. Never mind a dog’s life, it truly is a chicken’s life here in the NT household. Trust me!

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