We have five chooks… for the most part the girls love them and they love the girls back. The chooks put up with being chased, and patted and fed and the girls put up with sharing their sand pit and backyard. Harmony reigns supreme.. well at least when it comes to the chooks and the girls interacting… usually.
Yesterday was a particularly gorgeous day up here. It was warm and sunny without being too hot and for once it wasn’t windy! We spent time outside in the morning, the chooks and girls mostly in the sandpit and water together. And we spent time outside in the afternoon… the girls and I drawing on the pavers with chalks while the chooks tried to see if the chalk was in fact edible. The usual outside interactions.
Later in the afternoon we got out the girls softball bats… special soft, safe children’s bats and balls given to the girls by a softball playing cousin last Christmas. I giggled a lot as the girls tried to get it together to connect bat with ball. Sitting the ball on top of a stump and wacking away at the air was most amusing from my point of view.
Zoe was getting frustrated, fast.. She stamped her foot and yell at the ball “stay still!”. Once again, most amusing from my point of view as the ball was perfectly still. She yelled over to me “I can’t hit it” and I encouraged her to keep trying, showed her how to hold the bat a few times etc etc. On a few occasions she managed to connect in a half hearted way and shove the ball off the stump, but this was not good enough for Zoe.
“I can’t do a big one”
“Keep trying” I yell again… though I knew she was getting crosser by the minute and a half hearted yell of encouragement across the yard wasn’t going to help at all.
I watched her then, she looked at the ball, then she looked at the chickens mulling near by. She took a step towards the chickens and raised her bat…. then she looked at me. Our eyes met and she lowered the bat, she knew it wasn’t ok to belt the chickens with the bat. Phew!
But a few more failed attempts at the ball got the better of her… she stepped towards a Corky and before I could yell made a gentle swing towards her. She knew it wasn’t ok so thankfully didn’t put any force into it, I am sure it was much more to get my attention and make me come and help than actually wanting to wack a chook. None the less Corky, the chook in question was unimpressed, and so was I!
We had a lengthy chat about only using the bat to hit balls and being gentle with the chooks like they were gentle with us. We put the bats away.
A while later I got the smart idea that we could eat a piece of cake (banana cake made earlier and even iced, and with sprinkles! oh how domestic am I!?!) outside so I didn’t have to clean up the crumbs. So the girls sat on their little camp chairs cake in hand, eating off the icing, as you do when you are three. Then I realised what a bad idea it was.
The chooks smelt the cake from across the yard and came at a flap. Initially they were just curious, but as soon as they got a taste of a few crumbs they were desperate. The girls were just low enough in their chairs for the chooks to reach up into their hands to peck at the cake…. and fingers looks surprisingly edible as well when they are covered in icing and cake crumbs.
Izzy took the brunt of the attack with Corky, leaping into her lap and pecking at her fingers. Izzy screamed, Corky was unperturbed and kept pecking. Zoe screamed because Izzy screamed and I dumped my half eaten cake as a decoy hoping to break the cycle! The decoy cake didn’t interest Corky and no amount of shooing would abate her, she wanted cake, and dare I say it a little bit of revenge for the earlier wacking! Izzy was beside herself!
I dragged both girls inside screaming with the chooks giving chase. I dumped the girls on the couch and went to kick the chooks out of the kitchen with some more decoy food, then went to assess the damage. No blood, but a band aid was still required.. even for Zoe who had only lost her cake and no fingers. More cake and a cuddle and things had finally calmed down a bit.
Izzy told me shakily “Corky thought my finger was a cake!”.
Pity poor Corky can’t tell the girls apart or she would have exacted her revenge on Zoe who wacked her rather than poor innocent Izzy! Either way everyone was happy to get cake in the end.