It started with the death of the cockerel, a statuesque redhead with a gift for crowing noisily and jumping on chickens. I drove off to find a replacement cockerel and, since there was a sale (well, that's my story), returned home with two cockerels, four chickens, and the words 'very good natured birds' ringing in my ears.
Sadly, the moment I let them loose in the pen mayhem ensured, with hens and cockerels ruffling themselves up like Mrs Angry on a very angry day, and letting rip with their beaks and wings. Of course I was in there too, pulling them apart, getting bled on, falling over, calling them names. Until I fell on a freshly laid egg and the pandemonium altered sinisterly as all 16 birds made for me simultaneously.
I thought my number was up. My gravestone flashed before my eyes, the monumental mason previously detailed to chisel 'I told you I was ill' forced to replace it with 'victim of the chickens she adored'. Was I about to bow out in a flurry of feathers?
But no, it was the egg that attracted them, their mutual animosity forgotten in the drive to be first to the yolk plastered to my corduroyed behind.
As I attempted to extract myself from the scrum, I broke another one. The chickens, now in an orgy of delight, rubbed shoulders with egg-eating camaraderie, earlier hatred forgotten.
Until the egg ran out... As I write, three chickens wander about my office with bolshy faces and I eye the last eggs in the kitchen disconsolately. There's something rather ridiculous about buying eggs to keep your chickens happy, but I have seen the future and it's a chicken-egg situation.
- Dr Selby is a GP in Suffolk. You can write to her at GPcolumnists@haymarket.com