This is my blog about the day to day lives of my little flock of pet chickens. They're a happy little flock, although they're totally crackers! If you want a laugh, they'll gladly give you one.


For the ebook version, just click the link on the right.

Monday, 26 March 2012

Shock tactics

It seems the chickens have devised a game of "let's see who can make Trish jump most". 

It began with one or other of them quietly creeping up behind me and then brushing against my leg as they walked past.  It doesn't matter that there's plenty of room for them to pass without touching me.  Oh no - that would spoil things because it would be unlikely to make me jump.

When they got fed up with doing that, they changed tactics a bit.  Sometimes I like to just sit quietly in the garden, thinking of nothing in particular.  Usually, I let the flock out to play, but now and then I just want the garden to myself.  So they gather at their gate and mutter darkly to each other about how selfish some people are, not sharing their garden.

Then Irene discovered that if she gets up on the coop roof and jumps down onto the nest box roof as hard as she can, she can make a hell of a racket.  And that racket will make me jump out of my skin!   Ha!   Another point for the chickens.

Pom-Pom very often wanders round beneath the bench, pecking away at random bits of corn that nobody else has noticed.  I'm sure the little madam pointed out to Irene that if she sneaked under the bench, she would be perfectly placed to rush out between my ankles.  That, she thought, should have a remarkable effect on my nerves.  Irene thought so too and put the plan into action, with the result that that I nearly dropped my mug of tea, I got such a surprise.

I can't work out if I've done something to upset them, or if they just like a bit of fun at my expense!

Friday, 23 March 2012

Last egg standing

I belong to a lovely Facebook page called Down The Lane.   The members are not only very knowledgeable when it comes to the care of chickens, they are also great fun.

Which is how I found myself trying to emulate what one of the ladies managed to achieve.  I couldn't.  But my son managed it - see if you can do it too.

My eggs rolled all over the place, but my son managed to make an egg stand upright

Monday, 19 March 2012

Faster than a speeding pullet

It's exceedingly rare for me to be lost for words.  But not only has it happened, the incident causing this malfunction with my mouth took place in the hen run!

It was a lovely morning.   The birds were singing and the sheep were making their way into the field with their new offspring when I went down to open up the coop.  Irene, Rebecca, Maggie and Titian had all made an appearance and were followed, as usual, by Fizz.

It goes without saying that Fizz immediately chased after Rebecca with only one thing on his mind.  And, as is always the case, Rebecca took off like a bat out of hell up the run.

The run is a triangular shape and narrows sharply at the top, which is where the little Araucana was heading, Fizz hard on her heels.   Almost too late, she realised that if she didn't do something, and do it rapidly, she was going to be cornered.   In a second or two, she'd have nowhere to go.  That would mean submission to Fizz's attentions, and she simply wasn't in the mood this morning.

Fizz was closing in rapidly, so she took evasive action in the most novel way.   She swung round and escaped by running between his legs!   

And that, dear readers, was when words failed me. 

Friday, 16 March 2012

The Thrilla in Manila (aka the hen run)

It's not at all unusual for me to tell you that Fizz has been chastised by one or other of the big girls - generally for his unwanted attentions.   Today though, things were a bit different.

Fizz came bouncing out of the cage, spotted his beloved Punk who spotted him and ran.  Never mind, there was his beloved Rebecca who was duly bonked before she could escape.   She'd just recovered from that when, much to her surprise, she was given a good hiding by Maggie!   She's still trying to work that one out.   We can only imagine that it was because she was much closer to Maggie than Fizz, and Maggie was too full of breakfast to chase him.  When you've got out of bed on the wrong side, it's often those closest to you who suffer your bad temper.  It's the only explanation I can think of.

Things were a bit different yesterday though.   Mad Irene was gazing off into space, trying to remember what it was she was trying to remember.   She was very, very deep in thought and not with us at all.   Fizz noticed this and, being the opportunist he is, decided to take advantage of the situation and attempt to have his way with her.   Brave boy, our Fizz.

Well for starters, being a full grown Light Sussex, she's much taller than the little bantam cockerel!  But did that deter him?  Of course it didn't!  He leapt from a standing start, managed to reach just above her wing, scrabbled to gain purchase, didn't - and fell off.

All this being totally unexpected, uncalled for and unwarranted, Irene was more than a little peeved!   She jumped in fright and turned to face her attacker.   Poor Fizz accidentally found himself almost backed into a corner between the tree stump roots and the fence.

It takes an awful lot to rouse Irene, but she was good and roused now.   Her hackles rose to their fullest extent and she leapt forward to "chest" him.   Not to be outdone, Fizz extended his magnificent, abundent hackle feathers out to their furthest limit and chested her back.  That should show her!   But it didn't.  Unfortunately when he'd leapt to chest her, he'd landed further back than before and was now well and truly cornered.

With a very cross Irene bearing down on him, still all hackled up, Fizz jumped onto the tree stump and back down into the ring - er, I mean hen run.  The pair of them danced around chesting each other, for all the world like Muhammad Ali and Joe Frazier when they met in the Philippines.  

In no time at all, Fizz found himself cornered again and had to return to the fracas via the tree stump.   When it happened for a third time, he decided this was b-o-r-i-n-g and wandered off.

Monday, 12 March 2012

How to stuff a chicken

It's been an interesting day or two, one way and another.

It was such a lovely day on Saturday that we went into the garden, let the chickens out of their run and sat on the bench to drink our tea.   Mad Irene had barely started mowing the lawn when she spotted that we had something she didn't.  And, of course, she wanted it - whatever it was.  So she legged it across and leapt onto my son's lap with the intention of dipping her beak into his cuppa.  Fortunately in this instance the hand was quicker than the eye, covering his drink before Irene could get at it.

A bit later on I went to throw some corn into their run and discovered that Fizz had learned to roof-bounce. It could well be that this was when Fizz also discovered he could roof-bounce.  Knowing I was about to dispense goodies, he decided to take a short cut from the far side of the run.  He ran, jumped a bit too enthusiastically onto the smoking shelter roof and found himself going "boing" into the air and onto the upper level.  He looked a bit confused for a moment, as well he might, before running over to join the others.

Then on Sunday, the sky fell on Pom-Pom.  She was absolutely appalled to find that the hated egg-laying business had started all over again.  She was furious!   She thought she'd laid more than her fair share of eggs last year, and now the damned things were appearing again.

Come bed time and there was Irene with one Araucana tucked nicely into her chest feathers, and the other nestled in somewhere near her nether regions.  Maggie was between her and the wall.  The minute we opened the side door of the coop, she tucked her head under Irene's wing.   We popped Pom-Pom onto the perch on the other side of Irene.   Pom-Pom promptly tucked her head, bouffant hairstyle and all, under Irene's other wing!

So basically, Irene was well and truly stuffed - not with sage and onion, but with half the flock.

Friday, 9 March 2012

Whisky galore!

One of the waifs and strays I've had over the years was a Sulphur Crested Cockatoo; his owner had died and the poor thing had been neglected.   By the time he got to us he looked like an oven-ready chicken, having pulled all his feathers out from sheer boredom.  He wasn't totally bald; he had feathers on his neck (obviously couldn't reach them to yank them out), but only one yellow crest feather which drooped sadly over his left eye.  He had bits of fluff on his bum, but nothing much anywhere else.

What Whisky was supposed to look like
Picture by: snowmanradio

Soon after he arrived, we let him out of his cage for a walk round the lounge.   We hadn't noticed the kitten hiding behind the curtain, but he noticed Whisky.  Assuming this was his new best friend, Dali bounced across the floor to welcome him.  Whisky was not impressed.  Wing stumps raised, head thrust forward, he shrieked "You NAUGHTY boy!"   At which point the astonished kitten hurtled off to the safety of the kitchen.

At their next encounter, the kitten displayed his utter disdain for Whisky by sitting with his back to the bird.  Big mistake.  Whisky marched up and bit his tail!

He was a prolific talker, but his language left a lot to be desired.  When I took the cover off his cage at what he felt was far, far too early one morning, he glared at me and snapped, "Bugger off".  Another time my two young children came giggling into the kitchen to tell me that he'd just told them to go away - only nothing like as politely as that!

Part of his diet advised by the vet was brown bread and butter.  Whisky would drop this into his food dish, then delicately take it back out and lick all the butter off.  Digestive biscuits were dipped into water before being eaten.  And as we ate a meal in the next room, the air would be punctuated with yells of "Is that mine?" or "What you doing?" or "You going out?".

He appeared to blame me entirely for his previous misadventures, even though it was me who cleaned and fed him.  Given even a breath of an opportunity, he would yank my hair out or take a chunk out of me.  But he adored my husband and the children.  They could play with him, he would ride on their shoulders or let them tickle his back.  But me - I was just the hired help.

He was quite old when we got him, but we enjoyed his foul-mouthed company for a few years before he died.  And he never did forgive me!

Wednesday, 7 March 2012


Years ago I lived out in Africa and I regularly accompanied my husband into the back of beyond, where he carried out his work.

On one of these trips he suddenly stopped the Landrover, leapt out and started scrabbling round in the undergrowth at the side of the road.  He returned holding a chicken egg which was in the process of hatching.

I was despatched to try to find the mother but couldn't even find any sign of human habitation, let alone a hen.  So the egg joined us in the cab and off we went.   A shrug, a final heave to get out of his shell, and a lovely little chick emerged.  I doubt there's another that's been born on someone's lap while being chauffered round the bush.  He was named Carruthers.

We were on our way to a nearby town to get provisions; it was a cool day and the sky was overcast.  We could hear thunder in the distance and rain threatened.  Under normal circumstances the little chick would be tucked up safe and warm under his mum, so how best could I replicate those conditions for him?

I came up with the perfect solution.  Which is how I came to be doing my shopping with a chick tucked in my bra.  Of course people didn't know I was carting a newborn piece of poultry in my cleavage.   All they could see was my bosom bouncing about in a rather unnatural manner as Carruthers shifted position to get comfy.

We got quite a few startled stares, I can tell you.  But Carruthers didn't care and to be honest, my 32A's had never had so much attention from complete strangers, so neither did I.

Monday, 5 March 2012

Pheasant company

I love where I live!   I love it anyway, but at this time of year it's a particularly exciting place to be because of all the fresh new life that keeps appearing all over the show.

The lambs will be bouncing around in the back field soon, but at the moment I'm being entranced by our friendly neighbourhood pheasants.

One of the males has been visiting us for some time, but when I went to check the chickens last week there were two of them.   When I appeared, one flew off pretty quickly.  But the other just ambled a few yards, thought "Nah" and waited for me to push off.  I threw him a handful of corn, which he tucked into with great gusto.

Isn't he stunning
 Photo by David Croad

The wife didn't trust him out on his own, so she was there too the following day.   She flew off when I opened the back door, but he was smart enough to know I had goodies to share.  So he waited and I rewarded him with said goodies.

The Mrs must have decided I was harmless, because the day after that her six teenagers were in the garden too.   Now everyone comes every day.

My lot aren't as small as this lot
 Photo by H. Zell

I'm sure it can only be because they trust me - nothing to do with the big dish of corn I put out for them every day.  Of course not!

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Love's young dream - or nightmare

A little while ago Fizz couldn't contain himself any longer and danced his little heart out for Titian (February 3 "Gentlemen may prefer blondes ......")

I said at the time, he'd forget she didn't rate him and would try his luck again.  He's such a hopeless romantic, taking a risk on another rebuff was a sure thing.  Well I hate to be smug about it, but I was right.

There he was, surrounded by girls.  None of them had a headache, he could have had his choice of any of them.  Well, perhaps not any of them, but certainly Tu-Tu (the tart!), Rebecca, Punk or Pom-Pom (providing she didn't see him coming).

But no.   He spotted the lovely Titian and nobody else would do.  So off he danced, the love light shining so brightly in his eyes, that it blinded him to the reality of the situation.   But this time he tried a new tactic.   He'd remembered from last time that she liked .......... kissing.  Well how else would you describe one chicken pecking another chicken on the beak?   As far as he was concerned, she kissed him.  He seemed to have conveniently forgotten that her next action was to box his ears from one end of the run to the other!

Deciding on a frontal assault, he danced up to her and pecked her on the beak.  All of a sudden, he realised what he'd just done and finally remembered the consequences from last time.   He was riveted to the spot, but moved his head as far back as he could and hoped he was out of range.   He wasn't.   Titian leaned forward and kissed him back not once, but half a dozen times.  

Maybe "kiss" isn't quite the right word.   She smothered his beak all right, but with hard pecks and very close to where his beak joined up with the rest of him.

At this point, he decided that the old saying about discretion being the better part of valour had a lot going for it.   So feigning a nonchalance that I suspect he didn't really feel, he strategically retreated.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

At last!

Woohoo!  It’s finally published!   After a few unexpected delays, my e-book is finally available and I'm SO excited.   It's a combination of a prequel to this blog, and some of the early blog posts that you may not have seen.

My son did all the technical stuff to turn the words and pictures into an e-book and he designed the cover.   Just as well one of us is good at that sort of thing!

It's on Kindle, but if you don't have a Kindle, you can still get to read it by downloading one of the  free Kindle Reading Apps for your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, BlackBerry and Android phone at

The book's blurb says:
A humorous look at chicken keeping and what they don’t tell you in the “How to” books.
From the hen who hates laying eggs, to the cockerel who would like to, this is a hen run full of quirky personalities.   You’ll meet the village gossip, a foodie and a grumpy old tart.   Then there’s Mad Irene, whose antics are counterbalanced by a bantam with a fondness for deep thinking.    
There’s the adventurous and the timid, the fights and the friendships.   And like all good comedians, the chickens throw in a bit of pathos too.  But that is sandwiched between some dreadful table manners and some truly eccentric behaviour – even for chickens!
If you decide to get a copy, I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.