Shove over Cate, Nicole and Kylie.
You have some serious competition from a new Australian bird – a redhead whose major fashion statement is feathers. Her name is Little Miss Sunshine and she’s a hen.
As the star of the anti-battery hen campaign That Ain’t No Way To Treat a Lady the little chicken is popping up on screens and billboards across the world.
This clever campaign from the wonderful Animals Australia aims to capitalize on consumers’ increasing unease with the source of their eggs. Nobody wants to think that the gal who laid them a perfect oval miracle for breakfast is tortured in a cage so tiny she can never stretch her wings her entire short life.
And because poultry farmers are addicted to all those TV women’s prison dramas they know only too well that caged girls love to fight. To nip this in the bud poor old chickens have the ends of their very sensitive beaks sliced off.
The hens on the property here are outside ladies. They waddle around the grounds raking at the earth for tasty things with their sharp claws. Then they have a nice old roll in the dust for a bath. Lots of squawking goes on because chooks are great communicators and each cluck means something different. They even cluck softly to their unborn chicks to teach them communication skills – and the chicks chirp right back from inside their shell.
Our girls’ eggs are never fertilized because we don’t have a rooster. Roosters can have a bad rep as rapists and are a pain in the ass at dawn so we are a rooster-free zone. Their coop which they all trot back to at dusk is like a nun’s convent or a Reality Show where men are barred. It’s spacious and cosy with lovely fresh straw in the laying boxes.
And do they lay!
Sometimes there are so many eggs – big beautiful bright yellow-yokey eggs – that you don’t know what to do with them. Visitors try to sneak away before we can bombard them with another couple of dozen and even when the whole neighborhood is avoiding us still they spill out from the fridge and onto the benches in bowls that have been dated and color coded.
If they want to lay while out and about they will find the oddest places to do it. The dog kennels are a favourite and so are the bags full of sheared alpaca wool. But old shoes and the seat of the tractor are handy too. You have to be careful where you sit sown.
Romain, my neighbour, found a hen sitting on his sofa recently watching television. X Factor Australia was playing. He couldn’t quite grasp what she was clucking about but thought it had something to do with getting herself on the show.
I reckon she’d be in with a chance. There’s been a lot of crap on there but nobody has laid an egg yet. That takes real talent!