Thursday, January 10, 2013

Dead Chickens. An eye for an eye

Heather jumps out of the van and says 'Where are the chickens?” She runs around behind the woodshed and gives a cry of despair. All our bantam chickens lie dead, all, it turns out, victims of a mink attack. We have had chickens several times in the past and it has always ended in some variation of the same theme. One by one or all at once; raccoon, hawk, mink, eagle. Keeping chickens is like setting up a free lunch cafe for the local wildlife. Even domestic cats have bagged our bantams in the past. Still, it is very upsetting even as we shrug our shoulders and prepare to clean up the next day.

Some have been killed within the fenced yard, others lie in corners of their house. Throats torn out, headless, little bundles of feathers. Just days ago they were practising crowing or clucking “An egg, an egg!” Now just lumps to be buried.

Our first instinct is to lie in wait for the killer to return and to then exact revenge; that quick human response so close beneath our civilized personalities; but later know that killing the mink will just involve us in more death. The mink was just fulfilling its mission in life. Let this thing be and move on.

I wonder though if I had been living within the civil war in Syria right now and that had been my family lying dead; throats cut, mutilated. How would I react then? I bet I would not pause for rational thought; to understand the pressure the other side was in. I would swear vengeance and run off howling. Perhaps in my righteous anger I might find someone else's family to balance up the score. Madness, but oh so human.

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