Do Brummie chickens have accents?

BY the time you read this we should have four new members of the family.

Yes, after years of talking about it C-Day is here, and today we head into deepest Essex to collect our four chooks.

We discovered this week that they will be Brummies, reared for battery farm egg-laying duties in the West Midlands. I have no idea whether this makes any difference to anything at all but I suspect that any Black Country accents in the hens’ clucking will be undetectable to the human ear.

They may, I suppose, be detectable to the ears of other chickens, so our neighbour’s girls may pick it up. It’ll be like the hen equivalent of listening to a female Adrian Chiles or Ozzie Osbourne. Hmmm.

I mistakenly thought that chicken-keeping would be a cheap business; a bit of shelter, a handful of grain is all they need, surely?

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Apparently not. Small But Fierce of Ipswich wrote out the new arrivals’ needs, and it came out longer than William and Kate’s wedding present list, though slightly more expensive.

In addition to the house we need feed of several types, feeders, grit, water thingies, a dustbin (presumably for those who don’t match up) and a number of other items which I’ve forgotten about.

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Those birds are going to need to be laying 24/7 to repay all this expense, which defeats the object, I suppose.

They do have neat little fleeces awaiting them. SBF got together with Creative Carrie and her daughter Sarah to make them and they’re rather sweet little pink and brown flowery efforts, the sort of thing a stylish chicken about town would be quite happy in, I imagine.

(Sarah, incidentally, is a gifted cook and made the Ginger Ninja a birthday Battenberg cake –surely the sponge of choice of the gods themselves – in nine squares rather than the regulation four, a chunk of pink and yellow genius.)

The GN celebrated his 19th birthday in relatively low-key style, creeping in silently at twenty to four in the morning. Or he would have crept in silently if I hadn’t locked him out.

To add insult to injury he was also victim of a bizarre incident involving piccalilli, a preserve he detests as much as he loves Battenberg or sleep.

I was trying to undo a jar of the pickle when it shot out from my right hand. As it hit the deck it remarkably stayed intact, but a gobbet of piccalilli - possibly cauliflower, possibly gherkin – shot out of the jar, rose six feet in the air and embedded itself in the gingery one’s beard.

I couldn’t repeat it if I tried a thousand times, and I suspect the GN would soon tire of it, but it cheered me up no end. Happy birthday, son!

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