July 24 -30, 2011: Issue 16  

Chooks as Feathered Dogs

A few years ago, when we seemed to be infested with ticks in both front and backyards, Lord Muck bought home some chickens to 'deal with' the problem. We were getting ill from bites and toxin and seemed to recover just in time for the next onslaught. We had been informed they would eat the bugs.

The resident Tiger, clearly afeared of these birds which were slightly larger then her, avoided them at all costs and ran in the other direction if they came closer, clucking congenially. After a few months, with no lessening of parasitus abundance, and only three rather small eggs, LM pronounced them 'depressed' and found a new home for them amongst a larger brood where they thrived.

Now there are chooks in the front yard again. They quite happily venture into our kind and tolerant next door neighbours. They wander up the yard to the back door and stand clucking happily, scratching up Lord Mucks newly installed plants.

What is most noticeable about these three though is the way they come running to you as you arrive home. They hover around your feet, almost standing on them, and seem eager to tell you of all that has happened since they saw you a mere hour ago. They are the most friendly chickens ever, a mother hen who is slightly larger then the others and valliantly leads them all over the place. The smaller two are possessed of their own personalities too; the white one a little shy, the brown a little aloof but all three will follow you everywhere, up the drive, up to the grassy areas, out to the washing line, happy to seemingly just 'hang out' with you.

They are named 'Chook', 'Chook' and 'Chook' and always come running when we call their names. They are our resident feathery dogs and keep us laughing with their charming antics. And yes, the eggs are bigger and more frequent and we haven't been bitten by ticks, touch-wood, lately.

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