Chook-Induced Anxiety (CIA) – The Sequel

Chook-Induced Anxiety (CIA) – The Sequel

Pompadour and Snowy

My chooks are older and fluffier now. I still suffer from CIA but at a reduced level, probably 5 out of 10 on the ‘CIA Scale of Discomfort’. This is down from 9 out of 10, so from a clinical perspective I have improved significantly. From my perspective, it’s still a pain in the butt.

I fear the only way to eliminate my CIA is to have no chooks. But I have grown fond of my feathered hens and I won’t get rid of them. They live for about 9 years so I’ll have to cope until they have gone to that great free-range farm in the sky. God doesn’t eat caged-chicken eggs!

I have five fabulously outrageous Chinese Silky hens. They are soft, docile critters adorned with lovely pompoms. Silkies are a great bird for the novice poultry keeper and are terrific for ‘tame’ children aged 6 and over. They lay little eggs weighing 40 grams. This means you will need a little teaspoon to fit in your soft-boiled eggy. If you are a horrible person and desire to eat a Silkie you will find the meat to be entirely repulsive and dark in colour.

My chickens are Pompadour, Snowy, Vegemite, Miss Eagle and Henny-Penny. Pompadour, the most arrogant of the hens, has the finest pompom. Snowy is a pure white hen and Vegemite is the colour of yeast extract. Miss Eagle is a suspected impostor having no pompom at all. I was running out of names when I got to Henny-Penny.

These chooks live the good life. They free-range all day and put themselves to bed at dusk. Sometimes I top up their dry food with fresh greens or, if they are really lucky, worms from my worm farm. As a result, when I open the gate to the backyard they go crazy with love and run towards me. This makes it all worthwhile. At night the door is shut securely on their coop. The fluffballs sleep snuggled up against each other.

PS. I have a confession to make. Due to my CIA (totally irrational) I just can’t bring myself to eat my feathered friends’ little eggs. But that’s OK because everyone else does and when we have too many eggs we trade with the neighbours, who give us seasonal produce. Everyone’s a winner. And yes, I am told, free-range, organic eggs definitely taste better.


Note: A repost of a story written a couple of years ago (Tessa is sick with a cold and I haven’t time to write 😉 )


Chook-Induced Anxiety (CIA)

Chook-Induced Anxiety (CIA)

Pompadour the Chinese Silkie chicken

Chook-Induced Anxiety (CIA)

Such a tranquil scene. Gorgeous chooks cluck lovingly while recycling scraps into free range eggs. Think again! Those magazines are not telling you the full story.

Yes, chooks are the latest accessory for ethically aware, suburban greenies. They can also reduce the weekly shopping bill. However, beware that getting chickens can result in Chook-Induced Anxiety (CIA).

I will now outline the steps that can trigger symptoms of CIA.

Preparation for chook ownership

Magazines say chook ownership is a piece of cake. It is easy if you can afford a prefabricated deluxe chook house, if you have a handy husband or if you’re not fussed about chicken comfort and casualties. Note – coop must be ready before chickens arrive.

Cute, fluffy chicks arrive

Yes, they are adorable and children spend hours squeezing them! They are also safe and warm inside a cosy brooder box.

Chooks move to the big house

Handy hubby has finished putting together Fort Knox style coop. Only two months late! Note to chooks – apologies for temporary ‘caged chicken’ status. Chooks love the big house but they also love dust baths – everyday. A wire floored coop is not conducive to dust bathing and free ranging chickens elevates my heart rate terribly. The anxiety is starting to rise.

Necessary extensions

Wow, this chook thing is expensive. I wonder when those savings begin to kick in? Now dear, do you think you could build a fence around the coop so my lovelies can dust bath? What do you think about a sunshade? Can we fence the whole backyard? Yes dear.

Rooster removal

Now for the big ticket item – rooster removal. I don’t recall reading in glossy magazines about the top 5 ways to remove roosters. What do you do when the crowing begins and neighbours start complaining? Quick – find someone who wants your roosters. Easier said than done as my chooks are ‘not for the pot’. This is a job for where you have soft hearted people called ‘fluffy feather’ and ‘featherdusters’ just waiting to rescue your roosters.

‘LittleRedHenHouse’ finally gets a response and roosters are saved. At last a sleep in.

Egg laying

But where are the eggs? Oh well, at least my darlings are safe and sound. I’m sure the egg laying will begin soon. Then I can start worrying about broody hens. I’m wondering if this CIA is worth it?

The End


Note: This is a reposting of an article I wrote ages ago. It is all true – I do suffer from Chook-Induced Anxiety disorder, also known as CIA.

I first posted it on the ABC POOL and it was slected by ABC Radio National’s Country Viewpoint (Bush Telegraph) program staff for recording on the 7/7/2009.  Unfortunately they made me read it myself and I sounded terrible – a bit like Mickey Mouse on speed 😉 so I won’t let you hear the originally recording.

I did, however,  enjoy going into the radio studio to make the recording – I’ve always wanted to wear cool head gear and talk into a microphone on the radio – haha.