31st December 2006
That chickens can have personalities is something many people do not realize, that is until they meet Chicquin, aka Super Chicken.
Chicquin came into our lives on the 31st of December 2006. We received a call about the dire fate of a rooster that should he not find a home within seven days he would be dealt with by order of the council. Although a home had been secured for Chicquin it was not available until the 17th of January 2007, which was well past the 7 day order. We agreed that we would care for him in the interim.
Chicquin’s young guardians who had already rescued their little feathered friend from a school hatching project were delighted when they learned that their beloved rooster would come and lodge at Edgar’s Mission. On their further discovering of the philosophy of Edgar’s Mission they wished nothing more than he would be able to live out his days in peace and tranquillity with the other rescued animals at the sanctuary. For they, like us were uncomfortable with the fact the home that had been found for Chicquin was in reality a breeding farm.
When we met the Majumdar family (Chicquin’s then guardians) in Melbourne to collect the 4 ½ month old white rooster we were taken by their love for him. Chicquin came with several corn cobs (one of his personal favorite treats) and several pages of information about his history along with a list of his likes and dislikes. Our heart strings began to tug. Several days of life with Chicquin were to change his fate. He would not be going on to the breeding farm as had been previously planned.
Chicquin is indeed one incredible chicken, he spends many hours assisting in the office although he is known to repeatedly go to sleep on the job and entice us away from our work as we give him a cuddle and scratch. He is also famous for startling many who telephone the sanctuary with his background crowing and is often seen chasing after Pam as she drives around the farm feeding the animals and has even been seen to assist with the driving! Coming when called as fast as his little chicken legs will carry him never ceases to bring a smile to all those who are privileged to witness this glorious sight.
It was not always clear sailing though with Chicquin, for shortly after arriving at Edgar’s Mission he was taken mysteriously very ill. The condition proved life threatening and necessitated several days in hospital where it was determined that Chicquin had heavy metal poisoning. A testament to the diligent and caring veterinary attention given at the Highbury Veterinary Clinic saw our new found friend make a full recovery. While Chicquin yet again beat the odds, many chickens that result from school hatching projects do not.
Despite good intentions these projects do not teach lessons of compassion or responsibility to the impressionable young nor do they always ensure the chicks can live long and happy lives.
Rather they teach them lessons of detachment, expendability and the view that animals are mere teaching aids. Life is trivialized as teacher and student do not always accept the grave and permanent responsibility of bringing a life into the world. A mother chicken will lovingly turn her egg many times during the day and night, keeping it safe and warm. This does not always occur in the classroom and the result is often dead and deformed chicks that will never know of the loving caress of a mother hens wing. Many children are left believing that life can be created.
Life with Chicquin is indeed a joyful pleasure and confirms the wonderful nature of his much maligned species. One can spend several hours entranced watching the behaviour of chickens as they busily go about the business of being a chicken and never be bored. There is much to learn from animals. They teach us how to overcome limits imposed by difference, to live outside of words, to expand our awareness and take responsibility for another living creature. But sadly many of Chicquin’s kind pass from this world never knowing the touch of human kindness and only ever seeing the light of day on their fearful trip to the slaughterhouse. Chicquin has indeed been blessed as have we for knowing him. May Chicquin long live in our lives for he will always live in our hearts.