Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Domestic drama

Dinner is never a quiet event at our place, although this is normally due to our children’s lack of table manners, or their refusal to sit still and well, eat. But today we have another form of entertainment: a family of wild jungle fowl. 



Mother hen struts around the grass niftily, a clutch of three babies in close pursuit. It’s close to bedtime, and mother look up at the trees, searching for a good spot to roost. She spots a fine branch, takes off and flutters steadily to a high-up branch. Her three babies look after her with trepidation. Mummy went very high! After a minute of staring, number one flies up. Its little wings can’t reach quite as high as mum, and it lands on a dead palm leaf halfway. After some quiet deliberation, number two follows suit. It ends about a meter higher that the sibling, and perches on its higher branch triumphantly. Number three now can’t stay behind, and flies up, managing to come highest of all. But none of them is as high as mummy, and slowly they flap their way further up.

Suddenly, there is a rustle in the bushes and a fierce rooster appears. He flies up determinedly to where his wife is sitting, and a ruckus erupts, with leaves shaking and chicken shrieking. The flustered hen soon jumps down from the tree again and lands in the grass with a thump. The babies look down from there spots at different height, confused how to proceed. 




Dad comes down too, in hot pursuit of mother. He runs after her with his tail up high, and his wings slightly spread. Mother is in no mood for this, and runs off, her wings open too, her legs bent and her neck low. For a minute they chase each other in and out the bushes whilst their offspring looks down, showing their dismay with louder and louder discerning cheeps.

The first one decides to take action, and dives down from the tree. At this point, cat Snowy, who like us has been observing the scene from a distance, decides to get in on the action. Slowly she prowls towards the baby, prompting Linde to panic and rush over to save the baby. The chick decides to scramble, quickly clambers up the bushes, until it is safely out of reach. Linde too decides to cut her losses; barefooted as she is, she doesn’t dare follow into the wet bushes, where Snowy stares up longingly to the little fluffy snack.

The other two babies, still sitting up high, still cheeping noisily, now decide to come down too. Soon all three of them run around the grass, looking for mummy, who is still being chased around the bushes by dad.

Mother finishes off the kerfuffle with a big peck into dad’s tail. He settles down, slowing to a strolling pace, as if he never did anything more exciting this evening than a turn around the garden.

Snowy sticks her nose out from under the bushes, spying the three chicks in the middle of the grass. She attempts to stalk, but has counted out dad, who swiftly runs past her, scaring the little cat back to our table for a tumble with sister Pepper.

The family, reunited, leisurely strolls off to the other side of the garden, the three babies running their little feet off to keep up with their parents.

We sit and watch and enjoy. Who needs a television when you have a garden?

2 comments:

  1. Wat kun jij toch leuk vertellen. Dank je voor dit verhaal.

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