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  • When I went to work at the nursery, they asked me if I knew anything about birds. I did, but I'd never had anything to do with poultry, which is what they had for the most part. I'd hand fed budgies and cockatiels, helpless ugly babies with pink transparent skins- you must love birds to heat their food to blood warm every 3 hours and feed them with a blunt syringe while they shit in the bag you carry everywhere. You really have to love birds.
    So I ended up with the bird program by default, which is it's own set of stories, but out of it came a deep affection for chickens. I didn't think I would enjoy them so much, not with iridescent peacocks, comedic ducks and multicoloured pigeons vying for my attention. But no, the chickens captured my heart most firmly. I had chicks in my bosom, chicks in my jacket, chicks in the bathroom. Peeping, pooping chicks in every nook and cranny became my hallmark. Breeds I never imagined existed, I became the local expert on. I spent my night reading thick books on avian diseases, mornings trolling the internet groups looking for breeders. I was utterly hooked on hens.
    Unfortunately, my mate is not a big bird lover. Finding a blob of poop really ruins his morning. I have since changed jobs, and the house is no longer a home for wayward chooks, but I still have two pet bantam hens to remind me of that time, and give me a steady supply of local eggs I don't have to worry about coming from some poor tortured fowl in an airless warehouse.
    Hen watching is a meditation.
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