Monday, 28 May 2012

Raising chickens for the bird phobic

Image from here
For me it started with magpies. I first noticed that I couldn't cope with flapping wing noises after I was attacked by a magpie on my home from school one day. Magpies became a bit scary for me then, but any wing flapping would bring on the same flight/fright response (Ahem!).

My fears generalised to any flappy birds. All flappy birds. Or birds that looked like they might flap soon. Or any bird that was perched above me.

The Geege thought it funny when I raised the idea of getting chickens. I wanted a pet. I wanted the children to have pets. I wanted a pet that was productive. Chickens seemed the logical choice. "They will flap you know" The Geege said. "And you will have to pick them up" he casually added. Hmmm...

So we built the coop. We selected the chickens (2 black, 1 white). The guy at the store handled them into the box to carry them home. He assured us that they would be no trouble.

On the first day we let them free range. They didn't take themselves home to the coop (despite everyone's reassurances on Facebook that they would) and I began to have my doubts. What was I thinking? Birds? This could only end in tears. Tears for fears.

The Geege quickly became the chief chicken relocator. He nominated himself after I simply refused to notice they were still roaming around after dark. He chuckled a little and may have even said "I told you so".

Our white chook "Fluffy" turned out to be a speed demon who is highly asocial. I couldn't catch her even if I really wanted to. Which I don't. Luckily she follows the other chickens, so if I can gain compliance from the black chickens, she will usually follow suit. Eventually. In her own time.

Fluffy is also an accomplished flyer. So we were told when our neighbours were asked to care for the girls when we went to the Blue Mountains for the Geege's race She was the first to discover the wandering dew in our neighbour's yard. She quickly flew over the fence, leading the others in the venture.

These day trips had to be nipped in the bud. This of course would require some handling and with the Geege out of action due to his ankle injury, I had to come up with another plan to avoid actually touching the chickens.

Nugget was my first thought, but I figured that while he is my main helper when the Geege is absent, I didn't think he was up to the task.

So I phoned a friend.

My friend and her husband came to the rescue yesterday to clip the girls' wings and help us contain them in our back yard (our neighbours have probably had enough of their antics).

There is no doubt in my mind that my children know I am scared witless of the three gorgeous critters that I diligently care for each day. I want to set a good example to my kids, facing your fears and all that, but it is so hard for me.

In the past two months I have needed to pick the girls up on two occasions. My heart pounded, but I did it. It is one thing for a bird phobic to feed and water her birds. It is another altogether to spend quality time with them. Watch this space to see how our relationship develops.

Anyone else have a bird phobia?


Claireyhewitt said...

I don't mind birds, I just don't like being touched by them. I would happily get chooks, but pick them up??? No!

Mama of 2 boys said...

You're hilarious MM! And either brave or incredibly crazy to take on chickens with your fear of flapping. I am mildly put off by flapping too. As gentle and feathery as that feeling is when it brushes past, it still erks me somewhat and I can never get the notion out of my head that feathered friends carry lice and other bugs. Geez, I'd talk myself out of owning one quicksmart.
I've also had a couple of magpie attacks in my time and they really freaked me out.
I think we've gradually uncovered a phobia here, haha!
Well done for facing your fears xo

Sarah said...

I hate anything flapping near me or flying at me, from birds to insects but strangly enough, I really like chickens.

Tat @ Mum in search said...

I hope your relationship develops much better! I like birds, we live in an apartment, so chickens are out of the question for us, but we feed lorikeets on the balkony. Now the moment they see us they come over and they'd take foot out of our hands, too.

Sharon said...

I grew up with a daily dose of magpie attacks every September and even my father-in-law's cockatiel flying around the lounge room makes me distinctly nervous. I'm just not a fan of birds... I do have chooks though, 2 of them at the moment. We have a relationship based on mutual loathing - I don't touch them if they can help it and they avoid me. They are pretty much devoid of personality and not very smart.

Photographer Mum said...

I am not the biggest bird fan but I do appreciate some of them. About a week ago, I had a Macaw sitting on my shoulder. She was a beautiful bird with gorgeous vibrant colours but she did make me a bit nervous.

frommetomum said...

Yes! I am terrified of birds. I can't stand anything that unpredictably flap around my face! So, how, I ask you, did I end up on 'chicken sitting duty' while friends are overseas? My shift starts tomorrow and I am horrified at what I've got myself into. I was thinking it would be good for the twinadoes. Silly selfless mama x

Anonymous said...

I am not fond of birds, although they can be tasty!! I would never put up a bird feeder.

Toni said...

Not birds, as such, but *feathers*


Quill and Ink Handmade said...

Good on you, MM!

We've clipped and raised our coop fences twice now, but our cheeky gals keep finding a way out. I'll often see them on the road when i'm driving home (a couple of streets over), or attacking the vege garden in all its delicious glory at the front of the house, or even facing certain death by swanning around near our sad faced mastiff when she's passed out and snoring in her kennel. I have almost given up chasing and rescuing them; and have taken to pacifying the neighbours with awesome eggs every few days, which seems to keep everyone happy :)


Petra said...

Hi, hi this made me laugh! Why are only the bird phobic in my friend circle getting the chickens??? You could have just volunteered your family to feed the chickens at school on weekends :-)

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