Backyard Farm Stories
The Great Styrofoam Massacre of 2014
One cold, dreary day in December, the chickens lost their minds. It all started when one of the girls didn’t quite make it to the nest box and dropped her egg in front of the coop. Sometime later – judging from the evidence at the scene – she (or one of her sisters) became intrigued by the strange object lying on the ground and began pecking at it, since that is what chickens do. Well, one thing led to another and…
Meanwhile, I was in the house enjoying a lovely breakfast. After the last sips of my coffee I bundled up and went out to spend some quality time with my girls; a relaxing and fulfilling daily ritual essential to my mental well-being. I found the whole flock centered on one particular spot in the yard engaged in a veritable feeding frenzy, making the happiest of chicken noises.
Naturally I was curious and went to investigate the source of their gluttony. What could it be? Unearthed earth worms? A bit of overlooked bread from yesterday?
But it was none of these things.
“Oh Yuk and Gag Me. My Girls are Eating their own Children!” was my horrified reaction.
I chased them away from the scene of the murder and disposed of what was left of the grizzly remains which were nothing more than a bit of yolk and some slime.
I told my girls they were disgusting and an insult to mothers everywhere. Then I went for a walk. I hoped that in my absence they would see the error of their ways and repent of their sins.
As it turned out, they did neither.
When I returned the chickens had all gone missing. They were in none of the usual places; not in the yard, the coop or under their favorite bushes. I quelled my mounting panic by reminding myself that they must be somewhere. (It was unlikely that a herd of giant hawks had swooped down and swept them away or that they’d all suddenly learned to fly over the six-foot fence and run away from home). Sure enough, I eventually located them massed around the outdoor faucet in the act of devouring yet another irresistible treat. “Seriously???” I yelled at them.
This time they’d discovered the Styrofoam cap which covers the outdoor faucet in winter to keep it from freezing. It had been right there in front of them for the past three months but I guess they were upset about being deprived of their exotic embryonic cuisine and decided that they needed something else to satisfy their hunger. By the time I got there, nothing was left of the Styrofoam cap but the rim.
Well, I have to admit that my first unkind thought was to wonder if my heretofore organic chickens could still be considered ‘organic’ with a half-pound of Styrofoam inside of them. Of course I was also concerned for their welfare, but honestly, I was still a little upset over the whole cannibalism incident.
In the end I took it all in stride. There was nothing to be done and, besides, if the Styrofoam killed my girls there would be fried chicken in my future. (My mother always taught me to make the best of bad situations).
Well, the Styrofoam did not even slow them down. They just kept pecking and scratching and eating with nary a sign of intestinal discomfort. However, it did take them a week to poop out all the Styrofoam and egg production declined dramatically. I guess chickens can't make eggs out of Styrofoam.
Either that or the girls have become cunning cannibals who leave no evidence and do their evil when I’m not around.
What's This? Should I eat it???