“Hens down! More hens down!”

My husband picked me up from the train station last night. The moment he saw me, he said, “I’ve got some more bad news.”

These days, whenever my reticent husband opens his mouth, it all starts with the same line, “I’ve got some more bad news.”

“Two hens of our neighbours’ were killed last night. Killed by a fox.”

“What? Two hens?” I was shocked. I’d just returned from an exciting trip to London, involving high tea, a magnificent palace and a touch of middle-class sophistication of enjoying opera singing in Covent Garden, but now I must quickly transport myself back to the reality of my everyday hens-mice-weasels-fox-murder type of Good Life. Strangely, I felt a weird sense of ‘victory’ when I heard my neighbours’ two hens were down. We were only one hen down; they were two hens down. Surely we’re the winner. Surely my hens were more intelligent and resilient than theirs? When disturbed a few nights ago, my two hens ran for their life, flew up high and hid in other people’s garden. If needs be, they even proudly crossed the road.

Last summer, I spent a few weeks with my 80-year-old mother in Singapore. Two weeks into my staying, my mother began muttering to my siblings about my strange behaviours. According to my sisters, my mother was slightly worried about my sanity as in Singapore, what I only talked about was my chickens in England.

I'm the only one graduate in the family.

I’m the only graduate in the family. Me – aged 6.

My mum has 9 children and I’m the only one who’s been to university. My eldest brother and sister only received primary education and were forced to work so that their younger siblings wouldn’t have to eat each other. I’m the only child with an academic job. I’m the only one who is married to a white man. However, my mum was a bit baffled as I didn’t seem to have many glorious stories from England to tell. In England, when we travel, we live in a tent on a muddy field. When we did once stay in a hotel, we stayed in a humble Premier Inn facing a busy main road. In contrast, in Singapore, once in a while, my eldest brother would take my mum abroad with his family and they would stay in a 5 star hotel overlooking the glistening ocean. They had visited Australia and Japan and I haven’t. They eat in posh restaurants every month with dishes like chilli crab, bird’s nest, abalone, peking duck and fish head curry. In England, I eat spaghetti bolognese which might have contained horse meat fed with the equine painkiller phenylbutazone, or bute.

Therefore, I think I ought to take a break from stories about my chickens for a while, though some of my sadistic readers do seem to enjoy the saga. My mum would be disappointed about her only highly educated daughter rambling about chickens all week. She would like to imagine her daughter has got other proper jobs to do in life.

Let me share with you a few more photos before I sign off today.

33 thoughts on ““Hens down! More hens down!”

  1. Red Slider

    Could it be drones, camouflaged as foxes? Never can be sure these days. Don’t be too sure about your mother, either. 106 year old lady out in the bush in upper Sierra Leone, couldn’t get around too well, or so we thought. Until the day we were coming up the and saw her leap off her porch, waving her cane and chasing some kids who’d come from the village to torment her chickens. Caught a couple of them upside the head with a good solid Thwack! too. Can’t be so sure about what our mothers think. They can have an uncanny sense for what’s of value and what’s not.

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      How interesting! The world needs some tough ladies.

      My mother is amused how I live such an old-fashiioned way of life while my other siblings live a more progressive city life.

  2. ShimonZ

    Maybe you have to get some dogs to protect the property from the foxes. How do they get inside your property? Do you have a good fence? As for the differences between the west and the east… yes, the time is different, in a whole lot of ways…. sometimes it’s hard for one to understand the other.

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      If the foxes want to come into the garden, they’ll always find a way. My neighbours were woken up by their dog barking. The dog alerted them of the fox attacking the hens. My neighbours woke up to see the fox running away, and they thought their brave pedigree dog had frightened the fox. However, in the next morning, they only realised that the hens had already been killed.

  3. todadwithlove

    Your mother will not be disappointed if she knows how eloquently you have been ‘rambling’ about your chickens. 🙂

      1. todadwithlove

        Well, that’s why you went to university, that’s why you were educated. So that you have the consciousness for biodiversity to keep chickens and deal with droppings.

      2. Janet Williams Post author

        Unfortunately, there’s nothing so high brow about keeping hens in this household. We didn’t do it just for ‘love’.
        First, we thought it could be a bit of fun.
        Second, we love fresh eggs and we eat a lot of eggs. We worked out it might be cheaper to keep hens for the eggs.
        Fresh eggs are really beautiful and tastier — the yolk is always so much brighter.

  4. The Laughing Housewife

    The one thing we can be sure of in life is disappointing our mothers so, if you think about it, you have lived up to her expectations to disappoint her and living up to our mother’s expectations is something to be proud of 🙂

  5. marshland

    Talking about chickens all the time must be a bit confusing for your old Mum. You make me laugh, with some of the stuff you write. Life in England isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, chickens, camping & unsafe food, terrible. We can’t join you in eating bolognese from a packet, we usually make most of our own stuff, with meat that we assume is free from contamination. What do we know? I have to admit though, yesterday we bought a packet of bami goreng from Lidl, it was close to it’s sell by date so it was 30% off. Off as in discount and not unfit to eat you understand….! It is enough for two days so we eat the same tonight but I’ll be bolstering it with some pork cheek and a teaspoon of sambal trassi. We have many to choose from as we bring boxes of the stuff back from Holland. Except my favourite manado, I can’t find that anymore even in Holland, so I’m looking for a recipe to make it ourselves..
    You keep writing, I’ll keep reading. Thanks.

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      Thanks for reading and your kind words. I’m not sure why I’ve encountered so much drama in my life recently. Blood can be a bit messy. I don’t like surprise in life normally.

      Food: We do try to cook most meals, but on lazy days, we grab easy meals. Sometimes there are far too many lazy days than non lazy days.

      And, my taste buds have changed. I’m equally happy eating fish and chips and jacket potatoes. I’ve also fallen in love with vinegar.

      As long as my rice doesn’t have to be mixed with butter, I’m happy.

      I’ve enjoyed reading your ‘rants’ in your blog, and DIY, cooking, rip-off, bird, nature. Please keep it up too.

      1. marshland

        Vinegar? I sympathise with you, poor girl. I detest vinegar. Round here, the fish and chip shops used to smother the fish and chips with salt and vinegar then whilst doing it would ask “salt & vinegar?” I would reply “no” and she would look at me like I’d just beamed down from planet Zogg. Vinegar was what the food was soaked in down the well at Eyam to stop the great plague getting out. ha ha.

  6. misswhiplash

    I can understand your Mum’s point of view…but…England is The Good Life..chickens and their safety is important….I do hope that they are more than secure at night. Foxes will also come during the day in some parts…it’s not their fault they have babies that need feeding so they go hunting and chickens are easy prey….so don’t be hard on the foxes , just make sure that your precious chickens are locked up quite firmly every night

    when am I going to get moderated?/

    1. Janet Williams Post author

      My neighbours decided to leave the 2 dead hens around in their garden, as they believe the fox will be coming back to take the victims away to feed its cubs. We do feel for the foxes. Our hens are now safe in their run and we would keep them there for at least a week.

      I don’t need any more drama in life.

      You seem to know quite a lot about chicken and foxes. You have a very kind heart.

  7. roughseasinthemed

    I won’t even write about my chicks and more chicks down 😦

    We travel with a tent too. We even sleep on camping mats in our flat.

    I’m vegetarian, thank goodness.

    But best of all, we just loved the good life clip, watched it right through. Brilliant. And we never watch anything that lasts more than two minutes. Sheer class.

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