family+home+garden

Poor Bunty

9 Comments 13 July 2012

Bunty the coral hen

Lovely Bunty posing with Roxy and Coco. That’s the weird fluffy rooster, Snickerdoodle, in the background.

It was the thing I knew we had to be ready for if we were going to have chickens. We live next to a field. We have seen foxes in the field. We knew what we were up against.

But when my daughter came running in the house one evening this week after going out to tuck the chickens in for the night, with a pale face and an alarmed voice, I knew that moment had arrived: “I can’t find Bunty, I need help to find Bunty!”

“Not Bunty!” I thought. Our favourite! Bunty is the one who runs up to us when we come in the garden, scratches around near our feet when we’re gardening, clucks and purrs near us when we’re just sitting on the grass, as if joining in and telling us all the news in the garden since we were last there.

We all dropped what we were doing and rushed out in the twilight to look for the little white hen. I was preparing myself for a cluster of feathers as we sometimes see when a pigeon has got to the end of its days, assisted by a local omnivore. Poor Bunty. I was feeling a bit ill at the thought of it.

We walked up and down the long garden, calling out for her (she comes when called). We walked along the field, we walked along the road, we walked and called everywhere we could think of. Finally, everyone went inside and my daughter and I walked down the garden again. By this time she had been crying and calling so long that her voice was getting croaky. I was trying to say a gentle version of “we knew this might happen” but it was too soon and I was told off. I was upset too but I was trying really hard to not be. And I was really annoyed, worried that perhaps we had done something to jeopardise Bunty’s life. I was also very distressed seeing my daughter so upset.

I wished we hadn’t even got the stupid things.

I told her to wash her face and get a drink and that we could read our new books together. I was keen to get both our minds off the disapperance of Bunty and the logical conclusion our imaginations might come to–something gorey and unpleasant. After reading a while it was time for bed so I tucked her in and her parting words were, “she might turn up in the morning.” Yes, I said, she might.

As if.

I went to bed but woke at 3.30 am with a dream about Bunty. I lay there getting more and more wound up, thinking about what kind of awful end she may have come to. Annoyed with myself for letting the whole thing get to me so much, I got up to read my book downstairs. Husband woke at 5.30 and came down. “I can’t sleep when you’re not there.” We decided to make some coffee and go out into the garden before our daughter got up so we could find any Bunty remains and get rid of them.

We got to the gate and a little white hen came running towards us from the undegrowth. I can honestly say I stood with my mouth open for long enough to look ridiculous. Yes, it was Bunty, not even a ghost of Bunty, just regular ol’ Bunty doing what Bunty does when people come out into the garden. (Except for not the night before when we were calling her.)

I told her off for not coming when called and gave her some grain and my husband went inside to wake our daughter and tell her the news. He said she opened her eyes immediately when he told her, asked if Bunty was ok, when he replied yes she said “I thought she’d turn up,” and went back to sleep.

For a short story about Bunty, go to the end of this post: The hens.

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9 Comments so far

  1. Expat Mum says:

    Phew! But what are you going to do to keep the foxes out? And what on earth had she been up to I wonder?

  2. Oh, so glad Bunty is alright! Most times, it doesn’t end that way… I love your daughter’s hopeful, determined spirit.

  3. Tammy says:

    You are such a great story teller! I was on the edge of my seat hoping for a good outcome for your hen. You didn’t tip your hand once! I am so glad that Bunty is okay, and I hope she looked the slightest bit remorseful for her girl’s night out!

  4. Lisa Casto says:

    Boy howdy, that was tough, this morning I only got to read up to the part where you got up and then I had to go do other things so I’ve spent the whole day hoping and wondering about Bunty and your family. Glad that it had a happy ending.

  5. Caroline says:

    Glad she turned up!!I wonder where she was. Maybe she has a lover rooster somewhere :)))

  6. Lisa says:

    Oh I’m so pleased she turned up safe and sound, what a lovely story – and a happy ending!

  7. A wonderful story, nicely told. The ending made me smile. Clicked on The Hens, read through, and got to the little story about Bunty: made me laugh out loud! Thank you

  8. The Fool says:

    That’s the problem with having any sort of animal isn’t it? I got myself upset the other day thinking what I’d do if we finally decided to move abroad and had to put our dog on a plane on his own. Hate to think of him being scared. How ridiculous is that? We’re not even close to going anywhere!

    • Michelloui says:

      Ahhh! That’s really sweet that you were thinking that though! Just today I was thinking about an American friend who has a new pet and I was wondering if she is anxious at all about when she moves back to the States (she’s here temporarily) and how the pet will cope with the flight, because I would be sick with anxiety worried about my pets feeling scared.


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