The Quick Brown Fox and the Very Lucky Chicken Nugget?????
I really love my backyard, I don’t like the maintenance but once the mowing is done and the rubbish is taken out, I like the fact that I can have my own piece of green. I’m not into gardening really, I just like to have native trees and shrubs. I’m not a purist, I’m not even sure I could name all of the plants in the garden, I just know that they are native. The flowers attract native birds and insects and provide some kind of habitat. We get many birds of different species: rozella, red wattlebirds, and other honeyeaters and even a satin bowerbird that has returned for a couple of seasons now to build his bower. My kids have a vegie patch, I have some native bee hives, and we have four chickens which are very much a part of the family. Very much an Australian backyard seen in many suburbs around Sydney and the rest of our country.
As is the same with many families, I’m sure, our chickens are adored and all have names, there’s Audrey (Henburn), Mary (Poopins), Flappy, and Nugget. They free range around our yard, there is no real limit to their range except for the fenced off veggie patch. I wouldn’t have it any other way, no judgement, but if they had to be contained in their pen 24/7 I think I’d rather not keep them.
At night they live in their house which is rather large for only four hens and every day at 7am in the morning they are let out by an electric door which shuts at 7pm. On Sunday morning at exactly 3 past 7 there was an enormous racket out the back and Maddison yelled out “MUM THERE’S A FOX AND ITS GOT NUGGET”. Kim ripped open her bedroom curtains and saw the fox carrying our poor brown hen across the grass. Before she could get to the backdoor and rush out, the fox had darted across the yard, she saw it jump up and onto the top of the back fence, which is 5 feet high, with poor Chicken “Nugget” in its mouth. Luckily it slipped and let go and released the very frightened bird. A great deal of stress and expensive medical attention later Nugget, I’m proud to say, was a very lucky hen and lived to lay another day.
P.S. Now the electric door doesn’t open 'till 10am in the morning 😊
Author Bio: Michael Shiels, Supervisor Birds, Taronga Zoo