Katie's Poor Chickens
by David Paterson
Katie's Black Rock Pullets
When she was 16, my daughter desperately wanted some chickens. Coming from a farming backgground and having previously had hens, we have a henhouse and all that was needed was removal of a few tons of junk and cleaning out a decades worth of detritus.
Accordingly, ten Black Rock pullets arrived, and after a few days inside to get used to their new home, (and where the food was!), they had free range of the environment during the day. After dusk the doors were shut and they snuggly roosted till morning.
For years the chickens were great fun, chickening about all over the place and producing far more eggs than we could use, so friends and neighbours got to appreciate them too. Despite the holes dug in the flower beds for sunning and dusting spots, the odd dropping on the ground which wound up on the soles of shoes, and the occasional incursion into the kitchen through an open door, they came to be individual companions and the chickens became part of the family.
Then one day tragedy struck. The henhouse was fox-proof. We made very sure of that. However, where you have chickens, you get rats, it is just inevitable. They are very good at creating holes to gain entry. And other creatures can sometimes use these holes too.
This tragic morning, on opening the chickenshed door, a scene of horror struck the eyes - every chicken dead, scattered over the floor and nesting boxes, two missing heads and the others bitten on the back of the neck. On investigation, we discovered that a mink had managed to squeeze through one of the rat holes and MURDERED all the chickens. We never caught the culprit.
This is a sad story, there is not a happy ending.
Poor wee chickens.