Custard – from Fiona Moss

Yes, this really is an obituary to a chicken!

Two of my flock were put to sleep recently, ex-battery girl Custard and pure breed Bluebell, who, despite their very different origins, were joined at the hip and would have wanted to go together. They came to me when their owner’s circumstances changed suddenly. I will never forget the look on my husband’s face when a large number of boxes appeared and he looked at me and exclaimed, “I thought you said a couple?”

While Blue never quite learnt to trust humans, Custard was always the face pushed up against the cat flap at afternoon snack time, vocalising in her highly distinctive tone; a mere crack of an open back door had her in the kitchen in seconds, wolfing cat food and scattering biscuits everywhere as soon as she was rumbled.

She refused to lay in a hen house, preferring instead the undergrowth of hedges and piles of wood, regardless of weather, and promptly moved her nest as soon as one was discovered. Her unwelcome and daily party piece was to dig out the entire hen house bedding onto the grass.

Custard’s local claim to fame was an evening escape job, tunnelling her way out of the garden, from where she must have walked the length of a large field, dodging dogs and foxes, overnighted somewhere in another garden and then crossed a busy road, only to be discovered late next morning munching plants in a garden at the other end of the village. In fact, she was mightily put out when I turned up.

So, my special little hen with the massive personality, you had an extraordinary innings for an ex-bat – five to six years, by my reckoning. The remaining girls are far too well-behaved by comparison, there is no one trying to bust through the cat flap anymore and the garden looks unnaturally tidy without those mounds of straw and hemp shavings. May you and the beautiful Blue rest in peace, and thank you for laying for us almost every day for over two years – even if you did make us search for the cache.

                               Fiona Moss






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