Monday, 11 September 2017

The Ghost Hens revisited


This afternoon I caught a young woman dropping a container of cooked pasta over the field gate.
I didn't recognise her, as she is new to the village.she's divorced, lonely and perhaps somewhat depressed I thought
The hens love spaghetti she told me rather guiltily....I warned her that Irene the sheep loves pasta too!
I love that people " adopt " the animals on the field from time to time...they all do rather secretively , as if what they are doing is wrong which is rather sweet......i think
The bachelors seems to have endeared themselves to many of the locals, which is a common thing for tiny birds to do. They bring the underdog support  nature of people.
It's a British Thing, I always think
I was reminded of my old broiler birds The Ghost Hens because of it all
Now, for those that don't know, the Ghost Hens were five genetically fucked up broiler hens that arrived at the Ukrainian Village as brainwashed , psychologically damaged little pullets. Designed to eat themselves fat in a matter of weeks, these sad little hens had been brought up in a massive barn of a building under artificial lights with thousands of other little fuck ups .
They had never seen the sun, never ate a blade of grass and had never had the room to scratch their own arse without getting battered by another goggle eyed clone.

Faced with their very own warm hen house and a miniature run, these sad little characters continued to eat themselves fat in silent desperation, but they did eventually react to their brave new world, and calmly and very slowly they started to turn their faces into the sun to live a little.
Surrounded by animal drama and chaos, The Ghost Hens always looked unflappable but their inactivity was just a useful way of coping. They were too big and too comical to run around in silly chicken circles.
They just couldn't do it.

Anyhow,
I remember taking the above photo very well.
It was approaching dusk on a summer's evening and the rest of the field was in constant motion.
The other hens were mooching homewards to roost, the geese were bickering over a patch of grass like they do and the hysterical runner ducks were being , well, just hysterical.
Only the Ghost hens remained still. Sitting gently and serenely  in the evening sun until their white plumage tinged pink..........in the warm evening light

32 comments:

  1. My first foray into chickens was a disaster. I ended up with 50 male cornish rocks who of course ate themselves until they could barely walk. We live and learn.

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  2. Such a sad indictment of our demand for eggs and chicken meat.

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  3. I miss the tales of the Ukrainian Village.

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  4. You've just had one xxxx

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  5. Well, that made me weep.
    And be very glad that I quit eating meat over 40 years ago.

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  6. I wish my neighbor had chickens

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  7. Its because people want cheap meat that we have these big broiler houses, people pay a fraction of their total inciome on food that they did in the earlier part of the 20th century. Its a complex issue I know. Hens also genrally arent keen on wide open spaces unless they are hefted to an area and naturally like some bushey cover. Everything needs the sun on its back.

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  8. When possible we buy free range chickens and locally raised meat. At least they could enjoy life a little before we eat them.

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  9. So nice they had a chance to live a little...poor little things.

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  10. I had to send one of my hens to chook heaven last night. I always try to do it at night while they are semi-comatose. Poor old dear. I am so fond of them, try as I might not to be. Your Ghost hens might be why I always think of you when I see my old black Australorp waddling around on her thunderous dinosaur legs. She has outlived many a faster, smarter red hen and now her oldest friend is gone. Luckily she seems to see her red minions as interchangeable!

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  11. The hens were not so unlike many humans.

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  12. We take care of our 3 year old great nephew four days a week (we also took care of his mommy when she was a little so it is full circle for us). Anyway, we decided to get Henry four chicks 9 months ago for fun...I can't tell you how much we have enjoyed it and NOW we get four eggs a day! It is truly amazing...lol. If people would read A Meat Racket they would never buy a chicken or egg again that they did not know where it came from. As Henry says "Sweet Goldie (or Blackie or Brownie) needs a little love" and proceeds to give it to them...much to their protests...great fun!

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  13. I miss our hens, they're such comical sad creatures. They always look so miserable.

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  14. So glad I'm veggie. The little I know of meat production is enough to give me nightmares.

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    1. Which veggie are you?

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    2. I don't eat meat either ...

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  15. What a sad story except the bit where you rescued them and finally enjoy the sunshine. Have just watched the sunrise myself x

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  16. Chucking pasta to poultry down a country lane? Hell, Trelawnyd is rather like Las Vegas. Life on the wildside!

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  17. As someone above has commented, I miss the tales of the Ukranian Village. How long did the poor "Ghost Hens" live - did they see out their natural life with you? AND how's it going looking for another pet sheep? Love the "tails" of the field.

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    1. Their life in the broiler houses last but a few weeks i had them between six months and a year

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  18. You gave them a life with sunshine and grass, enough for them to rest their painful joints and bask in warmth as hens should. Even the 'free range' chickens that are sold in shops don't have that luxury. How inhumane we humans can be to those we were given dominion over😢

    Well done you for managing to keep them healthy and alive for that length of time. They would normally have been slaughtered at a few weeks of age.

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  19. Poor ghost hens! At least you gave them so much more of a life than they would have had otherwise. How did you come to adopt them? Is it possible to adopt rescued factory-farm birds?

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  20. At least they were soaking up the sun.

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  21. We really enjoyed watching our chickens when we had a flock years ago. Every day is a new day to a chicken. It's like they discover their surroundings anew each morning.

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  22. As I'm having chicken for dinner, I kind of wish I hadn't read your beautifully emotive piece. I'll be moist eyed as I tuck in. It was outdoor reared which makes me feel slightly less guilty though.

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  23. A newcomer to the village and already you know that she's divorced, lonely and perhaps depressed??!!Crikey, that was quick.

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    1. Im like friggin miss marple me

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  24. Oh, the Ghost Hens do look heavy. I had never thought about how chicks raised in those packed "factories" might react if they were liberated after such an upbringing -- truly psychologically traumatized. We raised chicks a few years when I was a young child, selling broilers, eggs, but our chickens had full run of an enclosed outdoor area and freedom to come and go from their chicken coop where they roosted, but closed in at night to keep them safe from predators. We had a few bantams, too, which were given duck eggs to hatch. The little hen squawking and running around became so distressed when her ducklings suddenly instinctively jumped in to swim around in a small water-filled half-gallon drum buried in the ground for their pool.

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  25. I'll be moist eyed as I tuck in. It was outdoor reared which makes me feel slightly less guilty though.


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