Friday, March 13, 2015

When a Chicken Dies...

Chickens are pretty big, apparently.  Not in the sense that there are giant chickens running around, obviously.  (Although there was that incident in the dim and distant past when here in Crapchester we found ourselves subjected to an attack by Chicken Kong, the world's crappest monster, but that doesn't count).  It's just that all this week there's been this magazine on the bottom row in my local newsagent which has been catching my eye: Your Chickens.  I mean, if chicken fanciers, or whatever they call themselves, have an entire magazine dedicated to their hobby, then it must be more popular than I ever imagined.  Anyway, drawing my attention to the magazine was the headline on the cover: 'When a bird dies, how do you - and the flock - react?'  Wow! Heavy stuff for a magazine about keeping chickens - grief counselling for fowl.  I have to say that my reaction to a chicken dying would be to roast it and serve it up with chips.  But somehow, I don't think that's one of the reactions they cover in the article.

To be fair, keeping chickens has a long history, with at least one Roman Emperor amongst the ranks of fowl fanciers.  OK, the Emperor on question was Honorious, who is better remembered as the Emperor who sat in his palace in Ravenna whilst Rome was besieged, then sacked, by the barbarians.  But, in addition to being an undistinguished Emperor, Honorious was also a chicken enthusiast.  According to legend, his favourite chicken was actually called Roma.  The story goes that when he was told that Rome had fallen, a shocked Honorious replied 'But he looked perfectly healthy when I fed him this morning'.  I'd like to think that's true, but it's most likely apocryphal.  I'm sure there must be other famous chicken fanciers.  Perhaps Churchill kept chickens in the back yard of Ten Downing Street, defying the Luftwaffe during the Blitz by refusing to evacuate them to the country.  Or perhaps not.  Anyway, hopefully writing this has cured me of my fascination with Your Chickens, because if it hasn't, I can see myself ending up buying it next week...



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