John Carter Brown
Learning About Chickens - Poem by John Carter Brown
Last year I was given some chickens
Of which I did not know a lot;
I gave them a home in my orchard,
Then read up to see what was what.
The book that I took for instruction
Said that chickens must have some protection
From cold, and the damp English climate,
From foxes and chills and infection.
So an outhouse, I used for the purpose,
And covered the floor with some hay;
Then I sat back to wait for them laying,
Expecting a dozen a day.
But at night they seemed nervous and jumpy
And I knew not for what they did search;
'Til my father-in-law said, 'you nitwit!
Don't you know that a bird needs a perch? '
So I took his advice and I chopped them
A branch, upon which they could roost;
My knowledge of chickens now growing,
Their comforts now given a boost.
Then I found from a friend that a nest-box
Would help to persuade them to lay;
My chickens were then more contented
And gave me my breakfast next day.
Then along came the cold winter weather
With a worrying dropp in supplies;
But the book said that this was quite normal
And in summer, production would rise.
Yes I'm learning a lot about chickens
And their greedy omniverous diet;
And the order enforced by their pecking,
And that cockerels can't stand being quiet.
Now I'd say, in my humble opinion,
That it's better to give chicks a name;
Then identification is easy, and,
If there's trouble you'll know who to blame.
But trouble was rare in my orchard,
My flock of ten enjoyed their days;
Belinda and Sally, the elders,
Five others, marrans, and all greys.
But things changed when Rocky the rooster
Took to scrapping and doing his nut
Over two of the birds, presumed female,
Rocky knew they were anything but.
The book said that more than one cockerel
Would surely result in disaster;
Poor Speckleand Snowy's salvation lay
In the fact that they both could run faster.
So an uneasy truce is at present
Existing between the cocks three;
But if anyone's wanting a rooster
Come and see me, I'll give you one free!
Written Feb 1996
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