Wednesday, 25 June 2008

What happened on Thursday evening...

Something out of the corner of my eye catches my attention, a fluid movement slips out of view, a deadly shadow in the evening sunlight, slinking ever purposefully towards the hen hut.
A cacophony of noise erupts in the peaceful evening haze. A scrabble of claws, a whirr of beating wings, squawks and thumps and a flurry of hens appears in the middle of the drive.
The wraith-like shadow pauses and passes on. There is easier prey to be had – almost on a plate. For at the back of the pen there is an inviting box and from the box the harbinger of death can smell warmth, blood warmth. Succulent warmth. Adding to the piquancy of the moment is the delicious aroma of fear. Hearts beat faster and faster and louder and louder stamping out the dance of death and in a flurry of downy white feathers the deed is done and all you can hear from inside is the snap of bones and cartilage and the chomp as the Ferret starts on hor d’oeuvres.
By the time I realise what is happening it is all over for the chick. My fury knows no bounds and like an avenging angel I descend upon the vulpine creature snapping it shut in the box. I pause and consider the options before me and in this time, these brief few seconds the Ferret is already making its move. Driven by a fury that matches my own at having its dinner disturbed the Ferret hisses a warning then determinedly it pushes its nose at the corner of the lid. Without thinking I grab at its scruff. There is a squeal of outrage and then the most exquisite pain as Tuppence sinks her fangs into the base of my thumb. I pinch tighter, determined not to let go despite the fact I can hear the crunch as her teeth sink right to the bone. She struggles to get a better grip and sinks her teeth again. I make a grab at her with my other hand and in a blur of mahogany ermine she plants her fangs into the fat of my other hand.
I love my chickens to pieces and instinctively I have gone to their aid but as I dance about the yard with a ferret stuck on my hand I do ask myself are they really worth it?
As the ferret flies through the air to land cat like near the feed bin some 15 yards away I am really angry and I now block its chittering movement with my feet, stamping down just in front of it’s nose letting the vibration force it to back away. Hissing in blind fury the ferret lunges again and realising that I have come out in flip flops I beat a hasty retreat hollering for Roger my neighbour to come to my aid.
Tuppence and I dance around the yard as she determinedly retraces her steps to the scene of the crime (or dinner depending on whose view you take).
Roger calls.
Me: Grab it Roger!
Him: What?
Me: The Ferret.
Him: What ferret
Me: That one, the one that bit me (as if there were more than one!)
Him: OK then.
Roger really is a very affable chap. Bonkers I’ll admit. And before I can warn him of the imminent danger he is putting himself to, he stoops to swoop it up and catching it, he expertly holds it in his arms. The ferret knows it is beat and acquiesces. Butter wouldn’t melt.
I glower then realise that I really am bleeding rather a lot and from both hands and it really is rather painful.
Me: Ow!
Him: Well you shouldn’t have picked it up then should you!
Me: Roger! I had no choice - it was killing my chickens.
Him, with a distinct air of superiority: Get yourself over to Annie and I’ll sort it.
I stomp off to see Annie muttering about know it all old farmers and hissing just like Tuppence about how unfair it is and why does it always happen to me.
Annie sorts me out quickly with a good dollop of TCP and listens as I continue to hiss and spit. Agreeing with me that he is a tiresome old bugger when suddenly there is an almighty yelp – we both grin.


Anonymous said...

Not sure whether to grin or feel sympathy. I know, sympathy for you and a grin for Roger! I suppose he did come to your aid after all so he does deserve some sympathy too.

I'd have done what you did. I love my hens too much to watch them being savagely eaten.

CJ xx

WesterWitch/Headmistress said...

Berlimey I used to have a Ferret (Pearl) she was a soft old thing - I rescued her, but I have met other Ferrets and know what they are capable of - that was amazingly brave of you to grab it like that - and the bites you got must have hurt like hell and probably still do - I am sure you know to watch out for infection and keep your Tetanus up to date. Does Tuppence belong to the farmer then? Hah I guess he deserved the bite for being so smug. Ferrets are real killing machines

Cait O'Connor said...

Loved the funny ending. As Crystal says I don't know whether to laugh or feel sad for you and your chickens though. I have had nothing to do with ferrets, some folk love them don't they? But I know they bite, it must have been very painful.


Ouch.. once met mink chittering in a french wood and ran..

KittyB said...

Ouch. I do love ferrets, but they smell so very very musky. An acquired taste I think.

Exmoorjane said...

Oooh oooh oooh, that is making me wince and jump around as if I'd been bitten myself. Horrible, horrible. James wants a ferret and our house/dogsitter keeps them and they are good as gold (but then he's a real animal whisperer - even Asbo is as good as gold for him). Think this is a salutary lesson and J can stick with the goldfish.
Amazing the things we do when we're fired up..... hope the hands heal up quickly (sounding like a mother hen here but have you had tetanus shots?)....

Ceri Savva said...

I had a similar experience when one of bengals pointed out a design flaw in our newly built chicken coop. The chooks were only about 8 weeks so had a nice 'secure' run to keep them 'safe' until H showed us how he could get in! I had to rip the side off the run, along with a finger nail and ended up covered in scratches. Luckily though my babies survived. You have my sympathy.

menopausaloldbag (MOB) said...

Dear God Tattie, my eyes are watering at the damage inflicted upon you. Christ, you describe it with such detail I felt squeamish and dizzy. bloody hell, a war zone! Hope you heal soon. Tell that weazel it's a pair of slippers unless it shapes up.

bodran... said...

I definatly grinned!!for roger.. and i would have been tempted to stamp on the ferret though maybe not in flip flops... xxx

Potty Mummy said...

Ow Ow Ow and Yes Yes Yes! Brilliant post, I was there with you. Perhaps you should try your hand at writing crime novels, Tattie?

Expatmum said...

I hate those bloody things. Does anyone remember that Micheal Parkinson interview (I think), or was it Terry Wogan, when he got bitten by a ferret in much the same way. It locked on to his finger and wouldn't let go. Ooh.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

It's our first time here! We had a grand time!

valley girl said...

Just found your blog through Frog in the Field and it made me laugh.
I spent some of my teenage years in a 500 year old Suffolk farmhouse! Seems a world away now though.

LittleBrownDog said...

Ouch! Not sure what I feel about ferrets. They sort of make me think about drainpipes and trouser legs. Very funny blog, though. x

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