1 Your chicken needs to know from day 1 that you are important. Much better than Head Chicken, you are the Top Dog, the Cat’s Whiskers, the Bee’s Knees. You are great! Try to remember this when you’re shovelling poo from the chicken coop each day.
2 Your chicken can easily be trained to help with the gardening. She won’t need much encouragement. Barely will you have retrieved your spade from the shed, when she will appear full of enthusiasm. Once she has finished admiring her reflection in your shiny spade, you are free to start digging. Point out all the slugs and snails, then watch as she devours all the earthworms instead. Point out all the weeds that she can eat in the flowerbed, then watch as she devours your prize blooms instead. Rake all the leaves into a large heap and your chicken will eagerly help. As you walk away, make sure you turn back for a minute to watch her scattering the leaves with great gusto back across the garden.
3 You can easily train your chicken to eat out of your hand. Offer some food on your palm and your chicken will eat it. Hold some food in your hand and your chicken will peck you to reach it. Place your lunch on a plate and your chicken will jump up to swipe it. Take a bite of your lunch and your chicken will power jump to snatch it out of your mouth. Don’t bother trying to reclaim your lunch. A chicken can run like a first class sprinter when there’s food involved. Oh, and your chicken will need no encouragement to sup from your cup of tea. Just make sure that you pick the bits of dead leaves and grubs out of the cup afterwards.
4 Train your chicken to recognise the correct hierarchy in the family. A swift peck between the eyes will tell the chuffin cat that she is far less important than anybody else, despite what she thinks. Shoelaces on big boots can be pulled like worms from the ground, then left loose to trip up the wearer whilst your chicken nonchalantly retreats to a safe distance. As the chief food provider, you will automatically be afforded respect and adoration from your chicken. Until the food has gone. Then you’re fair game just like everyone else. Bend over and your chicken will hop onto your back. Lean forward and your chicken will jump on your head. Sit in the sun however, and your chicken will settle down on your lap to sunbathe. Hierarchy: an important lesson for you to discuss with your chicken at regular intervals.
5 Train your chicken to recognise that the coop is her domain, whilst your house is your domain. Even if you do leave your patio door open as your chicken roams about the garden: that is not an invitation to house share. There is nothing worse than finding your chicken standing motionless in your kitchen, her eyes fixed on the plucked bird roasting in the oven. Awkward, very awkward.
6 If your chicken is particularly unruly, you could try hypnotism. For the chicken, not for you. Place the chicken on the floor, grab a piece of chalk and draw a straight line on the floor. Your chicken should be completely mesmerised, staring inanely at the white line. Unless they eat the piece of chalk first. Then they’ll just belch loudly and carry on causing havoc.
7 If all else fails, reach for the grapes. Your chicken will do absolutely anything for a grape: jump through a hoop, twirl on one leg, somersault on the trampoline. The moment you hold a grape in your hand, you are the centre of your chicken’s world. Just for a split second, until the grape is plucked rudely from your grasp. Then you revert back to your original status of chief poo picker.