Allison had decided to take a bucket up into the loft of the barn to collect all the old eggs that had been languishing up there lost in the hay for more than a few months. If we get rid of them all she reasoned then any egg we see will be fresh. (Having those layers wandering about the barn had become a nightmare when it came to gathering eggs.)
So she was in the loft above me with her little tin bucket and her gloves, keeping in mind my dire warning about light eggs being highly explosive and was she sure she really wanted to be doing this on her vacation.
Daisy and I looked at the ceiling of the milking parlour as we heard Allison trot in her boots to the edge of the loft then her face appeared upside down and looking perplexed.” There is a dead chicken up here”, she said again softer this time. “It is a brown one”.
“Weird,” I said, “I have not smelt anything.” I was sat on my piano-stool milking- stool (with the little glass balls on the base of the legs) hand milking Daisy’s damaged teat ever so carefully and Daisy was at the shifting and snapping and let-me-out-of-here stage. But her stitches were holding and not wanting to ruin the vets embroidery I was being extra careful and taking my time.
“There you go, Daisy,” I said. “There you go, not long now.” She rattled her chains in reply. I raised my voice just enough to be heard. “Grab one of those rubbish bags,” I said. ” And see if you an collect the body in that.” Allison nodded, her face bright with apprehension as she came down and took the bag. She was obviously gearing her spirits up to pick up the body. “I can do it, if you like.” I said. (After all she is a guest.) “No, No, she called over her shoulder as she gulped and climbed back up the ladder. ” I can do it!”
Daisy and I listened carefully above the ring of the hot milk hitting the side of the pail, as Allison, the bag rustling and her footsteps hesitant, crept back across the loft towards the dim corner where the body was.
There was a pause and then suddenly an awful shriek. Two shrieks, I grabbed the pail of milk out of her way as Daisy stomped in fright from the second shout. Dust swirled through the cracks in the ceiling at the flap of wings and screeching above us. Allison screamed again. We heard her stumbling over bales of hay. “Its alive!” Allison called out. “It was crouched so low in the corner, it looked dead. I put the bag on it to pick it up and it flew up into the air in front of my face! That chicken is alive!”
She was laughing with fright and coming down the ladder at speed, the empty bag trailing from her fingers. “I was so sure it was dead but it is alive.” She was breathless. ” It was sitting on eggs! Frightened the life out of me.” She paused, taking a breath. She put down the body bag and picked up her bucket again. She looked at me, then looked at Daisy. Then grinned. “I will go search on the other side,” she said.
The little brown chicken launched itself through the air above her, flying from one side of the barn to the other, alive and well. And cackling with delight at getting one over the human!
Have a lovely day.
Your friend on the farmy.
P.S. If you want to see a few of the photographs Allison took yesterday pop over to her red door coop.