|Old English Game bantam cockerel - a traditional breed|
I notice that many Catholic bloggers, like myself, keep poultry.
It is a good occupation, the hens provide eggs, and manure, eat grubs and give a lot of joy to the young (and the old) when they hatch out a clutch of eggs.
My particular preference is for a breed called Old English Game, a rather sparky sort of bird that will have a go at anything.
They are about the size of a pigeon; if they were as big as a labrador you would need kevlar body armour and a taser gun (not a Taize gun) every time you went out to feed them.
I was most chuffed recently when my priest told me that, when he was younger, he, also kept what we old hands call 'OEG' bantams.
They do, however, cause me some considerable problems and, if it is not too much of a leap of imagination, I often regard them in the same light as the laity in the Church today.
The flock is one but they tend to split up into factions and, quite often, little spats arise.
They are hard to guide. You cannot herd them, they all like to claim independence.
When I go to lock them up for the night, safe from foxes, badgers, stoats and other wild beasties, they shoot off in every direction but the one I wish them to go in.
Some even disregard my shepherding and the safety of a pen and roost out in the trees.
This group I call the Econe flock.
Others try to be all things to all chickens and breed indiscriminately, laying their eggs out in the hedgerow where I can't find them but the fox and the magpies can.
They eat more of their fare share of corn and fight off others who try to peck at the same trough.
These I call the CINOs (Chickens in name only).
They are inconsiderate and snarky and I have unwholesome visions that involve me wringing their necks.
And occasionally, just occasionally, I find a few who are meek and obedient and appear grateful for all that I do for them.
I treasure these ones greatly.....but I can't for the life of me think of a suitable designation for them (?)