Never Hold a Conversation with a Chicken – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. Chickens are ignorant. If you attempt to talk to them, you are wasting your time. People say that chickens are intelligent, but people are wrong. How can they be all that smart with those tiny little heads and pointy faces?

If you start a conversation with a chicken, you will end up disappointed.

Me:        Well, let’s try this. Hey! Squawky! What’s going on?

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Squawky the Silkie Chicken:   Waaakk!

Stella:    You see! She doesn’t even know how to pronounce her own name.

Me:        Maybe she was not saying her name.

Squawky the Silkie Chicken:   Waaakk waak!

Stella:   There! That’s not even the same thing. She doesn’t know what she is saying.

Me:        Maybe she is saying ‘hello’.

Stella:    That is too many noises for ‘hello’.  Let me ask her a question. WHAT IS YOUR NAME?

Me:        You don’t have to yell.

Stella:    I DO IF I WANT HER TO UNDERSTAND ME! SHE DOESN’T SPEAK BULLDOG!

Me:        No yelling.

Squawky the Silkie Chicken:   Waaaak! Waaak! Waak. Waak. Waak.

Stella:   It’s just getting worse. Poor little chicken brain.

Squawky the Silkie Chicken:   Human, please tell your other bulldog to stop digging at our food. It is not for her.

Me:        Wow. That was pretty clear.

Stella:    She has been holding out on us.

Me:        If you have sway with Wiggles, tell her to leave the chicken feed alone.

Stella:    Yeah, she sure doesn’t want her big old bulldog face to meet the angry pointy-faced chickens. I think talking to chickens is a dangerous proposition, Lady Human. Can we trust them?

Squawky the Silkie Chicken:   Waaaaaaakkk!

Stella:    Typical.

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

Make Me Laugh – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges. We are shy one voice in the pack. I miss Snoopey.

Me:        As do I. Please. Make me laugh.

Stella:    That’s not my job. I don’t take orders from you. I am a bulldog. What would Snoopey say if she heard you?

Me:        She would sit with a very dignified air and flat ignore me.

Stella:    Exactly. And what do I look like? A human funny person?

Me:        A comedienne?

Stella     Yes. No. Maybe. Have you seen Wiggles?

Me:        Yeah, a while ago.

Stella:    Have you seen Wiggles lately?

Me:        Okay, what’s going on?

Stella:    She stole a bag of trash and she is running around the house, carrying it in her mouth like it’s some kind of prize.

Me:        Uh-oh. Where is she now?

Stella:    Who knows? Who cares?

Me:        Let me get Wiggles outside to run off some energy.

Stella:    Happy hunting!

Me:        She’s out now. What were we talking about?

Stella:    You were ordering me to be funny for your own amusement. How rude!

Me:        I just thought we could use a laugh.

Stella:    Is that all we are good for? Laughs? Oh, and you’d better check on Wiggles again.

Me:        What now?

Stella:    She is digging up chicken feed by the chicken run. And look! The chickens are all lined up in a straight row, watching her. They look angry.

Me:        They look like chickens always do.

Stella:    Yep. Chickens with their angry pointy faces. I know what would make you laugh! Let the chickens out so they can chase Wiggles around. That would be hilarious!

Me:        Not for long. What about when Wiggles realizes that she is being chased by chickens and turns around?

Stella:    Wiggles? Realize? Chickens? Can you imagine that happening?

Me:        Yes. No. Maybe. Chickens chasing a bulldog. I would like to see that one time.

Stella:    Ah, there’s a smile. Not a laugh, but the next best thing. We’ll keep trying.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

Squawky Day – Conversations with Stella

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges and I want earplugs.

Me:        Why? Because the pack barks so loudly?

Stella:    No. Barking is a lovely sound. I need earplugs to block out squawking. Chicken squawking.

Me:        Yeah, I noticed that today. I think they were mad because their breakfast was running late.

Stella:    And whose fault is that?

Me:        Mine. I took a little time to move the new 50-pound bag of chicken feed into place.

Stella:    50 pounds! That’s as heavy as I am. Cool.

Me:        I think you are easier to carry. You are more compact.

Stella:    Was that the big bag that you were dancing with?

Me:        Did it look like dancing? It felt like wrestling.

Stella:    Well, next time, do it sooner.

Me:        Oh, of course, Your Majesty. Pardon me. So sorry that your sensitive ears were inconvenienced.

Stella:    I pardon you.

Me:        You know, the next time they start squawking, you can go out and tell them to quiet down. They might listen to you.

Stella:    Chickens listen to a bulldog? Of course, they should. But would they? I doubt it. Have you seen how tiny their heads are? Their brains are just as small.

Me:        Small heads or not, chickens are very intelligent.

Stella:    Why?

Me:        They can play tiny pianos.

Stella:    With their scrawny feet or with their sharp, hard mouths?

Me:        With their beaks.

Stella:    Showoffs. That’ s easy if you have a pointy face.

 

 

Copyright 2018 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Everybody Gag! – Conversations with Stella and the Pack

I am Stella, Queen of the Olde…English…Bulldogges.  AAAAAGGGGHHH! Awww, what’s that awful smell?

Snoopey:   It’s Lady Human. I smelled her as she passed by. AACK!

Me:        Why all the barking?

Tiger:     Stink! Stink! Stink!

Me:        You all are the last of God’s creatures to be complaining about stink.

Stella:    No, I think you hold that prize now, Lady Human. Gag. Cough. Spit. Ew, it won’t go away! You need to clear up that smell immediately.

Miss Sweetie:    Yes, please. PLEASE! Ugh, my nose is burning.

Doodlebug:        And you all thought MY breath smelled foul.

Wiggles:   Your mouth is a rose garden compared to this. And I don’t even like roses.

Snoopey:   Christmas is ruined! The stink killed it!

Me:        Why are you all barking? It’s like an eruption!

Stella:    Why? Are you kidding me? Take it away! Take the stink away! What is it? Will it end the world?

Me:        No, it just seems like it. I harvested the chickens’ eggs. One of them exploded.

Stella:    Was that the loud pop we heard?

Me:        Yes. Yuck.

Stella:    One rotten egg caused all this by itself?

Me:        Yeah. Thank the LORD that the eggs were double bagged.

Stella:    Not good enough!

Snoopey:   Christmas is ruined!

Me:        No, we will recover from this before Christmas. I promise. I’m disposing of the remains of the rotten egg now. Give it a few minutes.

Wiggles:   Minutes? Is that like 1…2…3?

Doodlebug:   1…2…3…nope. Still stinks.

Me:        Okay, the offending egg is outside.

Tiger:   Not good enough.

Snoopey:   Christmas is ruined! Nooooo!

Miss Sweetie:   Why is Christmas ruined, Aunt Snoopey?

Snoopey:   Because Christmas is supposed to smell good and now the whole world stinks.

Me:        The stink will dissipate soon. There was only one rotten egg and it has been disposed of in the outside trash.

Snoopey:   No! Then Christmas is ruined for the whole wide world.

Stella:    Yes, but we’re okay. So, yippee!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Stop Clucking in Our Ears! You Sound Like a Chicken! – Conversations with Stella

I, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges, guard my ears from nonsense noises and that is hard living with a pack of bulldogs. But today it was not a bulldog assaulting my ears. It was far worse than that.

It was a cat. Moon the Cat, to be precise. She was making clucking noises in Lady Human’s ear and I heard it. Clucking noises! Who does that? She is a cat! Where was the meowing that we are so often subjected to? A cat should act like a cat. Clucking is for chickens and I know that the cat has not been hanging around with them.

Me:        It was really no big deal.

Stella:    How do you define “big deal”? Since when is a cat clucking like a chicken not a big deal? Is this yet another cat/chicken conspiracy? Are cats and chickens uniting against bulldogs? Are they now speaking a common language? Is this a prelude to war? NOOOOO!!

Me:        Wait. A war between bulldogs on one side and cats and chickens on the other?

Stella:    What else can it be? A cat was clucking, Lady Human! A cat! Clucking!

Me:        I don’t think it is a real problem. I did tell Moon to stop doing it in my ear.

Stella:    There is a plot afoot. Ignore it if you will, but one day, all of us may be clucking in cat-ese like a bunch of chickens.

Me:        Flock.

Stella:    I beg your pardon?

Me:        Granted.

Stella:    Hmmmph! Cats!

Me:        Hmmmph! Bulldogs!

Stella:    What?

Me:        Nothing.

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

You’re a Human! Do Something! – Conversations with Stella

Me:        I caught Wiggles and Doodlebug trying to dig under the chicken house today. Water had been eroding a low spot on one side. I had placed two thick boards over the depression so that neither chickens nor dogs could work their way through. Today the boards had been moved and the dogs were paying more than casual interest in the depression.

Stella:    Why are you telling us this? It is so boring.

Me:        I think Wiggles and Doodlebug will try to dig under the chicken house to assault the chickens.

Stella:    Okay.

Me:        Not okay.

Stella:    The silly chickens will just have to run around like silly chickens, but they do that anyway so no harm, no foul.

Me:        Sorry. Harm and foul. The bulldogs won’t realize that they are too strong for the chickens. They mean to play, but the chickens are too delicate for their type of play. That’s why we built the chicken run and chicken house for them. The run has a hardware cloth floor to protect from burrowing animals, but the chicken house was a re-purposed kid’s fort and it has no sub-flooring.

Stella:    Boring!

Me:        You wanted to know.

Stella:    I didn’t really. I was just being polite. Aren’t you a human?

Me:        Yes. But when has that ever slowed a bulldog.

Stella:    You are a human. Do something! Fix the problem!

Me:        They have shifted every large rock I have placed out there.

Stella:    Use bigger rocks. Put more over the weak spot. Keep Wiggles and Doodlebug away from that place. YOU ARE A HUMAN! ACT LIKE ONE!

Me:        Being a human is tiring sometimes.

Stella:    So is being a bulldog. Why do you think we take so many naps?

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

The Chicken Conspiracy – Conversations with Stella

Stella:    Run! Run! Get away as fast as you can! You can thank me later. Me, Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Me:        Stella, what’s wrong?

Stella:    Take a deep breath through your limited human nose.

Me:        Whoa! Who did that?

Stella:    Miss Sweetie. It was a gas attack.

Me:        Poor Miss Sweetie.

Stella:    Poor us, you mean. Run! Run for your lives! No, not you, Sweetie. You stay right there.

Me:        Our lives are not in danger.

Stella:    You could’ve fooled me.

Me:        Whoa, Sweetie! What did you eat?

Stella:    It’s the fault of the chickens. They pushed an egg out of their run. Right at her. On purpose. They know she has no self-control when it comes to their eggs. Wicked chickens.

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Me:        Maybe they were being friendly.

Stella:    Friendly? Stinking up the whole world is friendly?

Me:        It’s not the whole world. It’s really just a few feet around Miss Sweetie.

Stella:    No, Lady Human, the chickens conspired to run us from the yard. I am a queen. Queens know when there is a conspiracy afoot.

Me:        Afoot? You have been watching too much Sherlock.

Stella:    Or have you been watching too much Sherlock? That may be part of their plan, too.

Me:        Why would they care if you are in the yard? They have their run and their house. They don’t even cross paths with you.

Stella:    Chickens are smarter than humans give them credit for being. They are planning a takeover. Do you see how they hunker down together like a big pile of fuzz? That’s when they discuss it. Oh no, maybe the squirrels are in on it!

Me:        Okay, time for some fresh air, Stella. I think the gas has gone to your head.

Stella:    That’s it! We need gas masks. Tell Tall Man to get some. Like the one he wears when he cuts the grass and pretends to be a giant insect. Bulldogs will not be outsmarted by chickens. We will defeat this conspiracy. We will all look like giant insects. I can’t wait to see what the chickens will have to say about that.

 

 

 

Copyright 2017 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

Sniff It Before You Eat It!

The chickens play a little game with the bulldogs now. They push a couple of their eggs against the wire wall of their run and the bulldogs paw at the offering. Every so often a dog successfully punctures an egg (they are infertile eggs – no roosters around right now) and licks up the egg white and yolk.

I always know when this has happened because when I call the bulldogs back into the house, they don’t show up. They are busy egg hunting behind the chicken run where I can’t see them. They are not about to break off simply to run back into the boring house where no one offers them smelly eggs.

A good fresh hard-boiled egg now and again is a reputable treat, but on occasion, the hens offer their bulldog followers an egg that they have kept buried, an egg overlooked in the regular retrieval process – in other words, a smelly old egg.

Stella, Snoopey, and Tiger are discerning food connoisseurs. Egg offerings do not tempt them. But Wiggles and her 10-month old puppies, Doodlebug and Miss Sweetie, are trash divers. A stinky smell will lure them off course and entice them every time.

“Don’t eat that!” and “Ew! Yuck!” are my two most common warnings to them. I have started using truly delicious, pungent treats to break their habit. It appears to be working.

If you were given a choice between a raw egg and a smoky chicken jerky treat, which would you choose? Precisely! Me, too! Smoke and salt every time!

So what have I learned from the bulldogs?

  1. If it stinks, there is a reason. Don’t assume that it is okay, no matter what it is.
  1. Some stinky foods are all right because they are meant to stink, e.g. bleu cheese. If it is meant to stink, let it. If it is not meant to stink, throw it away and get something fresh.
  1. If it is supposed to be yellow and it is blue or green, that is not okay.
  1. If it is supposed to be red and it is black, nope!
  1. I believe that God has given us a discerning sense of smell so that we can avoid the bad smells and enjoy the good ones. Bulldogs have been especially blessed in this (200 – 300 million olfactory receptors in dogs vs. 5 million in humans).

Bottom line, if it smells bad, that’s a red flag warning. Stay away from the stink!

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

Stella’s Blog – So Much Rudeness, So Little Time

Hello again! I am Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges.

Let me plunge right into my List of Offenders. I have not updated it for a while and, as a result, the list is longer this time. In order from least to most offensive:

  • Me – that’s right. Good ole Stella. I have been perfect this week – quiet, obedient, undemanding. I definitely deserve more treats than I have received. I will speak to Lady Human about that later.
  • Moon the Cat – I have to be honest. It hurts to admit it, but Moon the Cat was better behaved this week than any of the bulldogs, other than me, of course. The only thought that gives me comfort is that the situation will not last. Why? Because CAT!
  • Tiger – You silly thing, you are still challenging Snoopey, just not so often. I see you prancing…yes, prancing…past Snoopey, hoping to provoke her. And you are still barking at Lady Human when she is busy with mysterious human behavior. Tiger, be more considerate of Lady Human’s time. Hey, she wasn’t petting any of the rest of us either.
  • Snoopey – Please stop sticking your lower lip out in that pitiful way and making that high-pitched ruh-ruh-ruh whiny noise from your throat. We know what you’re up to, Attention-Grabber.
  • Squawker the Silkie Chicken – I know you are a chicken and your brain is not as big as mine, but PLEASE, if there is no emergency, STOP THE SQUAWKING! You are the only one doing it. How would you like it if I stood by your chicken run and barked and barked and barked all the live long day? Get the picture? I don’t mind if you ladies cluck quietly among yourselves, just keep it down.
  • WIGGLES! – If I were a human, I would scream. Wiggles, if it’s time to go in your crate, GO IN! Stop arguing about everything. Just because you are a bulldog, you don’t have to be bulldoggy all the time. It is unbecoming. But worse than that, when Lady Human turned her back, YOU PEED IN THE HALL…ON THE BEAN BAG CHAIR!!! That’s where we play with Lady Human! Hey, I like to sit on that chair myself. Well, I used to like it. Now I may not ever be able to make myself sit on it again. And why? You had just been outside for…I don’t know…I can’t tell time, but it was a long while. This is what comes of the humans always saying “Oh, what a sweet dog you are, Wiggles” and “Wiggles, what a good dog!” This will teach them. Peeing indoors is not “sweet” or “good”, Wiggles. If you absolutely have to pee, at least keep in off the furniture and on the floor.

As you can see, people, it was a difficult week to be the queen. Thank you for your kind attention.

Signed,

Stella, Queen of the Olde English Bulldogges

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

Conversations with Stella – Chicken! Hush Your Squawking!

Stella, the Olde English Bulldogge, and I are here again to discuss what Stella thinks is the topic of the day. Though this subject will never make the front page of the New York Times or any other page, Stella likes to keep her interests close to home and personal.

Stella:   If it doesn’t involve me, it is not interesting.

Me:        That is a self-centered approach to life.

Stella:   Exactly. You understand.

Me:        That was not a compliment.  On to your question.

Stella:   A hen outside squawks very loudly. She is annoying. You know that I don’t like annoying. I told her to be quiet, but she just looked at me like I was crazy and kept up the noise.

Me:        She probably doesn’t speak bulldog well. I heard her, too. I shushed her, but she didn’t listen to me either. She paused for a few seconds and then started up again.

Stella:   What is her problem? That noise is so rude.

Me:        Her squawking is akin to your barking.

Stella:   It is not. Chickens are not related to bulldogs. Look at us. Strong. Magnificent.  Look at them. Silly. Fluffy. And they walk funny.

Me:        They are likely thinking that same about you. Not the fluffy part. But silly, yeah. And you do tend to sashay when you walk, Stella. You know, the chickens have been with us a whole year now.

Stella:   I remember when they came. They were tiny little peepers. There was not a loud squawker among them. What happened?

Me:        They grew up, just like puppies do.

Stella:   Puppies don’t grow up to squawk. They learn to bark. Barking is noble. Chicken squawking is a horrible noise.

Me:        You have complained about Tiger and Wiggles barking.

Stella:   Only when they weren’t saying anything useful. Now about this chicken problem.

Me:        Occasionally, chickens squawk when they lay an egg. She’ll quiet down after it’s not such a big deal to her anymore. Or she may be bossing another hen around. They will sort that out in the pecking order. Sort of like your bulldog pack order.

Stella:   Did you say ‘egg’?

Me:        Yes.

Stella:   Eggs are food.

Me:        Yes.

Stella:   I should eat the eggs.

Me:        No, that’s not part of your diet. Remember when you had all the itchy patches.

Stella:   When I hear the squawking, I will run to check for eggs.

Me:        No, you won’t. You can’t get to them anyway.

Stella:   I will befriend Squawker and she will hand them to me.

Me:        I seriously doubt that.

Stella:   Wait! Do chickens lay eggs the way dogs lay puppies? Are you eating their babies? No!!! No wonder they’re squawking! I would squawk!

Me:        Don’t worry. These eggs will never turn into baby chicks. There is no rooster.

Stella:   We should have a rooster then.

Me:        If you don’t like squawking, I can guarantee you won’t like what a rooster does. Meanwhile, go use your Stella power on the squawking hen the way you do when you change Wiggles’ mind by looking her in the eye.

Stella:   I will try, but I have to be careful. Chicken brains are so small. My bulldog brain superpower might melt them.

 

Copyright 2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t Stick Your Neck Out

We have backyard chickens. They are silkies. They came after three of the bulldogs and provide amazing entertainment for humans and dogs. The dogs are still at a loss of what to make of them and any attempt to introduce them further could end up, what’s the word…badly.

The bulldogs might not even mean any harm to the white, fluffy, two-legged creatures, but in an attempt to play, cavernous bulldog mouths have been known to close a little too tightly and all of a sudden the whole thing ends up…well, as I said…badly.

Years ago, a rooster that lived in our country barn was found dead inside his pen. He was headless. The carcass was otherwise intact. There was no sign of forced entry and no sign of trauma to the body except his head was missing. Completely gone. It was never found. We wondered about that for years until one evening when the settling chickens in our backyard run showed me how it could have happened. The hens closest to the outside of the flock stuck their heads through the holes in the thick wire wall. A tempting target in the dark for a passing skunk. Or dog.

The chickens pay attention to the dogs. They must in order to survive. The dogs never stop being predators no matter how calm and domesticated they appear. Day after day the chickens live in the moment. When the dogs approach the pen, the hens stare. They keep on with their business – pecking, eating, scratching, clucking, setting, but they never cease to be observant, alert, and ready.

We have a little hen that I call Skinnyhead because her topknot is smaller and narrower than all the others. She is the boldest of the flock, at least when it comes to staring down the bulldogs. Skinnyhead locks onto Stella with her sharp eyes and Stella returns the favor. Skinnyhead may be attracted to Stella’s big bulldog eyeballs so I have to encourage her to keep back a few steps, out of reach of the chicken’s quick beak. Meanwhile Stella waits to see if the skinny head of the chicken will come poking through the pen wall so she can check it out with her curious bulldoggy mouth.

Refusing to stick your neck out around a predator is common sense, not cowardice, and I am pleased that, for all her boldness, Skinnyhead has kept her head. Thus far, no close encounters of the bulldog/chicken kind have occurred, and I expect that to continue so long as no chicken sticks her neck out.

 

©2016 H.J. Hill All Rights Reserved.