a feathered house guest

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There’s a chicken in my kitchen.
There’s a chicken in my kitchen quite a lot these days, to be honest; when she isn’t there she’s generally sitting on the sofa, sleeping by a radiator or, at best, pecking at the window on the front door. I’m not sure she fully understands what being a chicken’s about.

Her name’s Matilda & we’ve had her for years, outside. She’s had two coop-mates, and outlived them both, and since then she’s just sort of decided that we are her remaining flock. It seems cruel to correct her, really.

So she waits on the doorstep at dusk, tucking her head under a wing & snoozing if we’re late home & darkness falls. She pushes her way in ahead of us all as we open the door, striding into the kitchen to peck up breakfast crumbs & stray strings of Orla’s spaghetti. She’ll spend a while doing her feathers – far longer than I ever seem to spend doing my hair – then take a drink from the cat’s water bowl and head to bed. The cats’ bed, as it happens, but they’re too stunned to object.

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Visitors are less easily silenced. ‘THE EAGLE IS COMING!‘ wails my friend’s 5 year old, as she eyes his toast hungrily by his feet. We quietly push her out the door.

In the day, she wanders the village, digging up the neighbours plants and laying eggs in their sheds & flowerbeds. She has an outdoor house with a pen, but if I lock her in, she shouts – shouts & shouts a crazy chicken shout – so I do what any sane person would do; I buy a chicken nappy on etsy, and let her in.

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Photos of me by my dear, dear friend Ali Dover.