From Colditz To Castle

From Colditz To Castle


Feathers, came from Red Shaver Factory Hen. She was passed on to us after having served her time on the egg production line. She was used to thousands of others encased in crowded cages and putrid odors. She had past her used by date. She came to us with a clipped beak and two other friends.They had no idea of the outside world. When they arrived, they had to be taught to perch and were given the opportunity of life in the daylight. 

A few years later, her friends passed on to the big "Free Range Farm" in the sky, leaving a somewhat lonely hen. The large orchard and designer hen house was no longer her choice of abode and, she decided that we needed company in the vegetable garden. She set about as our head gardener. She feasted on newly planted corn and laced the silverbeet leaves in no particular pattern. We had to restrict her access to the vegetable garden. With that now out of bounds, she decided that out of the six acres that we have, she should establish a dominion over the house grounds. 

Our cats now have to eat their food rather quickly and depending on Feather's guarding duties, they now prefer to exit the house via the window, rather than run the gauntlet past
the pecking poulet. 

Feathers would create dust baths that are luxuriously dug to beak height. Any attempt on our part to fill these baths result in rapid excavation and so her two favourite bathing places have to be mown around. The garden is well scratched over, especially the freshly weeded patches that did not come up to Feather's standard and of course, a hose is kept handy for those inevitable deposits. 

Nesting places for Feathers has been rather varied and all over the garden. Her egg laying has been erratic, now that she's seven or eight. Should we forget to check for an egg,
Spike the opportunistic hedgehog scores himself a gourmet meal. 

At the moment, a cosy bed of freshly replenished news paper tucked under a shrub beside the lounge window is her choice of sleeping quarters. 

She is gentle with children, eats out of their hands and even enjoyed a day in a classroom as a living resource for a pet care unit. Visitors are welcomed and escorted to the door. I'm sure she would love to accompany them inside if given the chance. 

At least for Feathers, she has moved from the production line to pasture and it has truly been an escape from Colditz to Castle.

True story by Marie L Broughton




From the SMARTER than JACK team 

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Marie L Broughton
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