The Dumb Chicken

A couple of weeks ago, I entered a bush poetry contest. I am sorry to say that I will not be performing in the Word Weavers’ Bush Poetry and Yarn Contest at the Whittlesea Country Music Festival this Saturday.

However, if you liked my last cheeky poem, you’re in luck! This poem was originally an epic saga detailing the life and times of every chicken my family has owned, ever. I’ve cut it down to a tidy five stanzas. A couple of people have asked me if I’d try to publish it as a kids’ picture book (with the conception story cut out, natch), but I think it involves entirely too much animal neglect and chicken slaughter.

So I’m posting it here instead.

The Dumb Chicken


With a disclaimer, allow me to start:

chickens are generally not very smart.

Observe the results of this limited brain.

In inclement weather, they stand in the rain.

Sometimes, when chased by a kid or a hound

a chook will decide it should squat on the ground.

But this is the tale of a hen who I haven’t

a doubt about calling an idiot savant.


We’d always kept chickens, but might have been wiser

to stop the cock-bantam from bonking the Isa.

The offspring turned out to be unkempt and scruffy –

smooth in some places; in others, quite fluffy.

Crowned by a wrinkly strawberry crest,

she frequently suffered abuse from the rest:

squawking and pecking and flapping and kickin’.

She stood there and took it, the poor stupid chicken.


The other chooks always would cackle and fight

if this chicken tried roosting near them at night

so her choice of perch was outside on the hopper.

The cold and the rain and the rats didn’t stop her.

When we threw table scraps into the pen,

this ugly, unfortunate wreck of a hen

would let all the soggy food fall on her head

and we were all certain her brain was half-dead.


It’s not that we didn’t take care of our pets,

but everyone, once in a while, forgets

to shut the gate when the red foxes patrol.

They slaughtered our chooks, hid them all in a hole.

We stared at the feathers, too guilty to talk,

then, from the corner, we heard a faint ‘bawwwk…’

The dumb chicken peered out from where she had hid

on top of the hopper, crouched on the lid.


We called her the dumb chicken and, to this day,

she sleeps on the hopper and stands in your way.

She’s not pretty or cute like a Barbu d’Uccle,

yet the foxes can’t catch this particular prey.

Four times, she’s escaped by hiding and running,

outwitting a creature that’s famously cunning.

She’s odd, but her methods have proven effective.

Intelligence might just depend on perspective.


5 thoughts on “The Dumb Chicken

  1. Geoff Mellor says:

    This Ode to A Chicken
    As a Story its grand
    and the moral,
    I truely, do understand.
    But this dumb Chicken,
    despite adroitness
    cannot escape
    your scripting prowess.


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