The chickens who came to music

Hey, Little Hen! Find out what happened when four chickens decided to get in on the action during one of my wildlife garden music sessions...

Today, I went to deliver my regular music session in the Mother Goose Wildlife Garden where – come rain, shine, wind or snow – the children and I sit around a couple of big wooden tables and make music together.

Sometimes, we venture into another part of the garden to sing to the wildflowers or dance round the willow dome. We hunt for owls and robins and tap the names of minibeasts on bamboo sticks. We even serenade the chickens in the henhouse – they seem to enjoy hearing Chick, Chick, Chicken and Hey, Little Hen played on shaky eggs 🙂

The chickens are a big part of life in the wildlife garden. They all have names and the children help to feed and look after them and to collect their eggs. I sometimes hang around after a session and watch them doing chickeny things: scratching for worms, pecking the ground, roosting and, occasionally, laying eggs. They seem fearless when I pitch up but perhaps they just think I’ve got some food for them. Whatever, they always crowd round the door of the henhouse and cluck at me like old friends.

Anyway, today, big news – the chickens were out. Free range. Going loco down in Acapulco.

As the children ran over to sit down for music, one or two chickens followed, squeezing under a low plank between two pallets and heading straight for my guitar. I watched them out of the corner of my eye as we sang our hello song. They hung about on the periphery for a while but once we’d moved on to our Christmas songs, they nudged closer and were joined by a couple more of their chums. I asked one of the teachers to give out some bells and we started to sing Jingle Bells. It was cold but the children kept themselves warm with vigorous jingling.

One or two chickens followed…

I looked under the next table and, lo, the chickens had snuck onto the strut between the table’s legs and were soaking up the music like hangers-on at a gig. They were inches away from one of the children’s legs but seemed fearless, caught up in the moment. Oblivious, the children were caught up in their own moment: singing, jingling and getting ready to shout ‘Hey!’

After music, I stalked the chickens with my phone and managed to grab a few snaps. I think they enjoyed themselves – I hope they did. It was great to have them there – a kind of cross-species interactive performance.

So now I’ve welcomed a fox cub and some chickens to my outdoor music sessions. Who’ll be next?