Don’t hate me because I’m different

Last week might have been perfect for bananafish but not so much for chickens. Despite being regularly soaked with water (and eventually ensconced in the shower cubicle), they spent much of the heatwave panting. And, when they weren’t panting, they were attacking the weakest bird in the flock (pictured over the jump), which eventually lost most of its feathers. You can see in the photo that it’s got a deformed beak and so is smaller than the others (I guess it can’t eat as much).

In chicken society, one response to hard times is, it seems, a recourse to scapegoating. One suspects we’ll see more of this (amongst people, not chickens) as the recession properly begins.


Jeff Sparrow

Jeff Sparrow is a Walkley Award-winning writer, broadcaster and former editor of Overland.

Overland is a not-for-profit magazine with a proud history of supporting writers, and publishing ideas and voices often excluded from other places.

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  1. Poor thing. I’ve been getting flack about my ‘deformed beak’ of late as well. Do they have names, or does that make it harder to part when Sunday lunch comes? This one looks like a ‘Goliath’.

    (Recaptcha: exploded claim)

  2. It’s too small and withered to be ‘Goliath’. No, you can’t give them names because unless they’re obviously deformed they all look the same.

  3. Ok, the name was supposed to be ironic, but that ‘all look the same, can’t tell them apart’ comment is kind of chickenist isn’t it? I’ve heard it a few times myself.

  4. Why such a dim view of carnivores? Eating them eventually (or eating their prospective offspring), doesn’t mean you can’t first name them, get to know them individually and form a relationship with each chicken based on their own unique and special personalities.

    After my last comment, Recaptcha called me ‘buffalo alumni’ (as in ‘Buffalo Soldier’ I presume). This time, it says ‘chicken giblet’. I tell no word of a lie. It’s totally freaking me out.

  5. It’s funny you should say that (about getting to know animals that you eat). The book I’ve been working on is partly about that: the difference between mass production animal slaughter and more traditional husbandry.
    Recaptcha is totally satanic. Listen to the audio version — it sounds like something from the Exorcist.

  6. I hope your chicken cheers up. Yes, humans might, like your chickens have, resort to scapegoating. Or they might, as my worms did, simply melt into a big glob of goo.

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