Today I arrived home from a trip to the local shops in great excitement thanks to a new issue of Australasian Poultry. There was a time, in the dim distant past, when only the latest Wallpaper* magazine would have generated quite the same level of anticipation. Those were also the days when I could rate most of Melbourne’s city bars on the vodka-martini-index. Sigh……
The incongruity of it all was further brought home to me later this afternoon while working on a chook tractor of my own design, cleverly (I like to think) fashioned from some chook wire, table trellises, a scary electric staple gun and at least two glasses of pinot noir.
I remembered a dog kennel I particularly admired from one of the earlier issues of Wallpaper*. A dog kennel designed for Dior if my memory serves me right. A particularly gorgeous dog kennel that looked like something Corbusier might have whipped up after a weekend at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Waterfall house.
A dog kennel that is to my chook tractor what Wallpaper* is to Australasian Poultry I’m afraid. More sighs ……
Photos of the chook tractor to follow once I’ve un-jammed the stapler, thats if I don’t staple my hand to the back fence in the process.
The chook pen has been a maelstrom of blood, guts and gore lately. I rather clumsily introduced two young Silkies to my four Pekin Bantams. The pecking order descended into chaos. ‘An eye for an eye” ruled the roost and was threatening to become a literal reality rather than just a badly handled metaphor.
So, ditched the silkies and contacted a trusted provider. Take 2. Last night we bought home two absolutely gorgeous wee little Modern Game hens. Very submissive little Modern Game hens. Hopefully.
Above is a photo of a Modern Game hen, not one of ours, just a generic hen prepared earlier although she does bear quite a striking resemblance to the hen that Jacob has decided to name ‘Bibbie’. The other, who is black, will be named ‘Ollie’. Two very apt hen names that already suit the hens to which they’ve been appendaged.
We’re taking a slightly more sophisticated approach to the introduction strategy this time. We’ve identified second-lieutenants of good and bad-guy persuasions and thought through several social scenarios for each approach before settling for the following. Introduce the new chickens to the ‘good-guy’ second lieutenant from the existing flock and allow them to bond and then introduce the two flocks. The plan is that the two new hens will then settle in towards the lower rungs of the pecking order somewhere between the second-lieutenant and the existing general-dogsbody-and-scapegoat. She should be glad of the company. It must be tiring being the only one on the bottom rung with three managers above you!
The Modern Game hens are tiny but apparently lay eggs the same size as the bantams, (I don’t even want to think about how…. ) with the added bonus that they don’t go broody at the drop of an ovary. They do fly. Our trusted provider neglected to mention this minor detail over the phone but then gave us a brief and painless lesson in wing-clipping before our departure so hopefully that won’t become an issue. The game hens are even friendlier than the Pekins and very happy to be handled and were apparently, bred by the President of the Essendon Poultry Society no less. These are the exalted circles from which the poor dears have descended. I can only hope the awakening is not too rude!