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Trouble in the fowl house

I'm a bugger for punishment and a bit of a slow learner in some things. I’ve sworn never to have anything with nuts on the property again after my last episode with entire livestock on the Estanscia. Back in the winter, I called in the heavy artillery to get rid of Russell the rooter and Rambo the ram in the same one foul swoop after one had kept me awake all night bragging about the notches in his perch, and the other had headbutted me for daring to walk amongst his ewes.

"Never again," I said, but today I weakened, and probably by this time tomorrow I will be beside myself for letting my spontaneous nature get the better of me. I love auctions, I have traded stock all my life at selling centres and auctions and I adore getting along to clearing sales picking up all sorts of useless junk and people watching. I’m a regular at the annual poultry auction run by Ashburton Fanciers Club and so along I popped today to view the fowls up for auction.

There were over 250 lots auctioned there today, and the vast array of specimens included ducks, pigeons, hens, roosters of all shapes and sizes and even a couple of guinea pigs. It's as noisy as hell inside with all sorts of things crowing and screeching, and the minute you enter the hall you are overwhelmed with the sweet odour of henshit and sawdust. It is a smell I don’t think I will ever lust after, but it goes with the territory. When you have to go you have to go, and I expect being caged up with a few hundred people peering at you in a small cage would be enough to unnerve even the firmest of bowels.

There is always an interesting mix of people who go to these things as well. Poultry breeders are passionate about their stock ( like dog folk and horse folk ) and it would be fair to say that the crowd would be more comfortable collecting the eggs than dressing to attend the grand national meeting. The dress code is super casual - one punter was so casual he was wandering around with a cockatoo on his shoulder which did make me chuckle a bit. There is definitely little chance of me meeting husband number three at a poultry auction!

It appears that sex pests are in every species and when I stopped at a cage and read “Very amorous roo – saddles advised on hens”, I thought this has to be a piss-take? I bent down to take a photo of the amorous rooster when I was tapped on the shoulder by a lady who reinforced the message to me. When I turned to face her she explained she was the owner of the said cock and was having to get rid of him because he was treadling his female harem to death. He had been mounting them with such a vengeance and digging his spurs into their sides for a bit of traction that he was leaving them quite damaged following coitus. She was having to put them in protective "saddles" to add an element of dignity to the act! Yes, there is such a thing and on further investigation, there are also spur covers that can be fitted to the roosters spurs on the bottom of his legs to minimize the impact. How fascinating is all that?

I got caught up in the excitement of it all when a young blue Orpington rooster took my fancy and decided I would have one more go at having a male on the property. His plumage was beautiful already and as he is only a young boy it is sure to improve with time. I decided it wouldn't be fair to bring him home to terrorise my old girls Miss Marple and Serena Williams. They are like me – they shut up shop last summer and any reentry into the red room of the hen house would have to be something carefully managed with an inexperienced cocksure schoolboy. I scoured the rows of cages and found a suitable pair of blue Orpington hens to purchase as well so the old girls will be left in peace.

As we speak they are getting acquainted in the long grass and dandelions that grace my orchard and Im hoping that from this thruple will come some fertilized eggs that I can incubate and hatch and pull my hair out as they too roll in my new spud patch and wreck havoc in my garden.


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