French Hens

Janine Marsh balks at the thought of tak­ing Bossy Betty, Peggy, Bar­bie or Gre­gory Peck for a con­sti­tu­tional on a lead

Your Chickens - - Contents - By Janine Marsh

Ire­cently read an ar­ti­cle in a na­tional news­pa­per en­ti­tled Are chick­ens the new Chi­huahuas? Well, I’m not sure what your chick­ens are like, but the thought of tak­ing any of my pam­pered poul­try any­where in pub­lic on a leash, as one celebrity ap­par­ently does with her beloved chicken, makes me laugh out loud.

I’ve got 20 chick­ens of as­sorted sizes and breeds, in­clud­ing a Cream Leg­bar called Bossy Betty. She is the Queen of the pen and rules the roost with an iron beak. She is quite happy to peck me, and any­one else for that mat­ter, when she wants some­thing. I can imag­ine she would en­joy it if I took her to the lo­cal su­per­mar­ket, but she would cause havoc in the fruit aisle – she does love an ap­ple.

I have a new girl called Peggy. She is a Cochin chicken with golden plumes and lovely feath­ery legs. She’s short and squat and rushes about squawk­ing and most of the time she looks like she’s wear­ing lit­tle boots. She re­cently hatched two eggs, but Mother Na­ture has not made her a good mum. She pecked the baby chicks and threw them up in the air. They are now liv­ing in a nurs­ery pen in the gar­den with eight black cochin ba­bies given to me when they were aban­doned by their mum. She might not win awards for her parental skills, but Peggy draws ad­mir­ing views from ev­ery­one in the vil­lage, so I can imag­ine that walk­ing her, per­haps on a jew­elled lead, would turn heads.

Bar­bie the blonde chicken would also be a good choice. She is the pret­ti­est chicken I have ever seen. Her pale yel­low feath­ers have del­i­cate black feath­er­ing on the tips which looks like lace. She is very chatty and runs to the back door when she sees me in the morn­ing. She pushes the cats off the cat food (which she loves), comes when you call her name, likes to be stroked and is more like a dog than a chicken in some ways.

Gre­gory Peck would prob­a­bly be the best chicken to take out. He is very large, has glossy jet-black feath­ers and re­ally is a hand­some boy. He also has a deep soul­ful crow. We call him the Pavarotti of the Pen. He is tame and not re­motely ag­gres­sive; more of a lover than a fighter, and he en­joys hu­man com­pany. The prob­lem is, around these parts there are lots of chick­ens roam­ing in the streets. If he ABOVE: Def­i­nitely hand­some enough to be seen in pub­lic - but would he be­have! BE­LOW: Blonde Bar­bie loves the cat food saw a bird that took his fancy, I fear he might drag me down the road in or­der to ful­fil his de­sires.

The rest of them are just too naughty and noisy to even con­tem­plate a pub­lic air­ing. They would poo ev­ery­where, climb things, eat ev­ery­thing in sight and peck what­ever piques their cu­rios­ity.

In this house, chick­ens are def­i­nitely not the new Chi­huahuas. We will leave that to the celebri­ties. If you think dif­fer­ently, and have been seen in pub­lic with your chicken on a lead, do let us know – and send us a pic­ture. Email: yourchick­ens@archant.co.uk

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