“As a matter of urgency, we need to move approximately 1000 hens,”
November 3, 2019 9:36 PM   Subscribe

$1.50 for 1000 hens. “A man is desperate to re-home 1000 hens after he accidently bought them in an online auction for $1.50. Steve Morrow from Hamilton said he saw the "urgent sale" on Trade Me and thought he was bidding for only one bird. But when he won the auction at 11am on Sunday, he was told by the seller, Matthew Blomfield, that he had in fact bought 1000 of them. The ad read that a small free-range egg farm based in Massey, West Auckland, was closing down and needed to be vacated by Monday. [...] He said he put in an auto bid for $20, thinking he could at least get two hens. "When the auction closed, I thought 'this is great', I could take as many birds as I wanted," Morrow said. "But when I spoke to the man and he said it was for 1000 hens ... holy moly, I was stunned, I can tell you that." He said he had read the ad more than three times and admitted the "wording was confusing".”
posted by Fizz (30 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
That's, a lot of hens...
posted by Windopaene at 10:13 PM on November 3, 2019

Hens are fine, just bring them to Key West. Any roosters, though...
posted by halfbuckaroo at 2:36 AM on November 4, 2019

Man, just 20-30 full grown hens running around free range is like having little bug-eating dinosaurs everywhere and I mean everywhere. Somehow they'll get up in trees and on roofs and go places cats don't even dare go... maybe because cats are mammals with forebrains and chickens are, well, they're chickens.

Also above a certain number of free range chickens it they seem to start behaving with macro-scale quantum effects like they are photons or electrons or something and not only will twenty of them be able to occupy the space of one chicken but they'll phase right through walls and start exhibiting some pretty spooky and alarming behavior.

I know people with large numbers of free range egg laying chickens and they're constantly telling stories about driving away in a presumably locked car only to find a chicken in the back seat. Or trunk. Or finding chickens in their living rooms or even bedrooms inside the house.

I was just visiting one such farm the other day and I'm standing there minding my own business under an apple tree. I must have been there for ten minutes until I heard a very quiet but assertive "bwwaaaaak" barely a foot directly overhead scaring the daylights out of me, and sure enough there's not just one chicken in the branches but several of them just sitting there staring at me and obviously wondering if they could eat me.

I will swear up and down in a court of law under threat of perjury that there were no damn chickens in that small apple tree when I walked over to stand under it. There wasn't really any places for chickens to be hiding in the tree, and we're well into fall so it didn't have many leaves left.

Even the eggs exhibit some or all of this quantum-like behavior and they will be found in the strangest places. I have heard more than one story about someone jumping into their work boots, shoes or muck boots left out on the stoop or in the mud room only to find an egg in it the messy way.

Above a certain number of chickens, they start to... non-figuratively multiply in non-linear ways. Any time I've asked someone who has more than twenty or so chickens how many chickens they actually have they immediately look strangely concerned and confused and reply with something like "Oh... forty... three? I think? I'm not sure. I haven't counted them today."

And of course what I'm getting at is a thousand hens is a sort of an irrational number and quantity of chickens. Maybe it's only a thousand chickens when he picks them up, but a recount at home reveals three thousand chickens.

Come to think of it, this may explain why the Gnome King reacted this way when he found out that Dorothy had returned... with a chicken. Because, seriously, this happens (spoilers!) and strongly confirms my quantum chicken theory.
posted by loquacious at 3:29 AM on November 4, 2019 [173 favorites]

I can confirm everything loquacious wrote. But I still can't wait to do it again.
posted by mumimor at 3:53 AM on November 4, 2019 [6 favorites]

I briefly worked for a guy who lived in an outer suburb but did so in a homesteaderish way -- all vegetables produced in a huge garden, meat obtained by regular hunting trips or roadkill deer courtesy of the state highway patrol. The only thing he'd buy at a grocery store was dairy products. He told me he'd once responded to an egg farm's classified ad offering "old layers" for a couple dollars apiece, figuring he'd stock the freezer. So he and his adult son drive to the farm in a pickup with a cap on the bed and buy 20 hens. They're about to drive off when the farmer knocks on the window, explains that the birds aren't selling very well and would they mind if he gave them a few more for free? They shrug and say, 'sure,' and they stay in the cab chatting for a few minutes until the farmer bangs on the side of the truck to get their attention and waves them off. At home they opened the cap and found it stuffed with 200 chickens.

The whole family set up a chicken disassembly line. "We spent four hours just chopping heads!"
posted by jon1270 at 5:22 AM on November 4, 2019 [27 favorites]

Funny, I saw a seminar about this very problem a few years ago......
posted by lalochezia at 5:31 AM on November 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

Sounds like a cheep deal!
posted by carter at 5:45 AM on November 4, 2019 [6 favorites]

We never had more than three chickens and even that small number could generate chaos. I shudder at the thought of what a thousand of them could do.
posted by tommasz at 6:02 AM on November 4, 2019 [3 favorites]

You can have the chickens.”
posted by snuffleupagus at 6:19 AM on November 4, 2019

They would go nicely with 18 pounds of Red Leicester.
posted by saturday_morning at 6:33 AM on November 4, 2019 [20 favorites]

MetaFilter chicken threads have many of the best stories.
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:38 AM on November 4, 2019 [6 favorites]

What's a henway?
posted by Mchelly at 6:45 AM on November 4, 2019 [5 favorites]

(saturday_morning's referencing this ask, which is just too good to be an oblique, unshared in-joke)
posted by fragmede at 7:17 AM on November 4, 2019 [6 favorites]

I know he really wants to save their lives, and why not, if he can, but if he can't, I'm sure there's a foodbank or soup kitchen system that would be very happy for the donation (Assuming that's possible...I imagine there'd have to be professional slaughtering and cleaning and that's probably not free).
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:22 AM on November 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

What's a henway?

$20 SAIT
posted by solotoro at 7:58 AM on November 4, 2019 [10 favorites]

I know he really wants to save their lives, and why not, if he can, but if he can't, I'm sure there's a foodbank or soup kitchen system that would be very happy for the donation

For those who didn't click through to the end of the article, he has put out a call on social media for others to help him with findin homes for all of the hens. I appreciate that bit of extra work, I imagine many people in this situation would just be like, "Yeah, I'm not dealing this, sorry, but there was a misundestanding."

He has a bit more honor and gumption that I do.
posted by Fizz at 8:00 AM on November 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

posted by Mchelly at 8:09 AM on November 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

What's a henway?

Per loquacious, an indeterminate amount within a range that can only be determined through advanced quantum mechanics and theoretical calculus.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 9:11 AM on November 4, 2019 [5 favorites]

....which turns out to be about four to six pounds.
posted by wenestvedt at 11:57 AM on November 4, 2019 [2 favorites]

Per loquacious, an indeterminate amount within a range that can only be determined through advanced quantum mechanics and theoretical calculus.

On re-visiting this thread I have spent a few too many minutes imagining 500 foot tall Godzilla-sized chickens and how terrifying they would be. Imagine with me the terrifyingly huge chicken feet with talons the size of a backhoe shovel and a beak the size of a city bus.

Imagine a whole flock of thousands of them pecking and scratching at... Los Angeles. Stalking over the land like giant feathered kaiju, able to shatter entire buildings with a lightning-fast peck of their beak and wiping out most of a city block with every scratch. Imagine the horrible clucking noises, thundering leviathan and Lovercraftian. Imagine giant eggs everywhere, or baby chicks 20-50 feet tall. So cute and terrifying, like a kawaii fluffy tyrannosaurus.

See, this is why I should really be stupid fuck off oligarch rich. I'd just pay for someone to make a feature length film starring Kaiju sized chickens and give it away for free. Forget buying yachts and impractical supercars, I would personally foster an entire creative industry of ridiculous, bizarre and/or amusing things.

That or genetically engineer 500 foot tall kaiju chickens. Kaijickens? Kaijukins?

posted by loquacious at 12:10 PM on November 4, 2019 [8 favorites]

posted by snuffleupagus at 1:00 PM on November 4, 2019 [3 favorites]

Chickens are just tiny, dim-witted dinosaurs; giant chickens would just be T-rexes.
posted by emjaybee at 2:12 PM on November 4, 2019

We have no way of knowing that dinosaurs were any smarter than chickens.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:18 PM on November 4, 2019 [3 favorites]

There are 2,000 cows in a field and 1,008 hens, how many didn't?

Also, I like monkeys.
posted by Chuffy at 3:59 PM on November 4, 2019 [1 favorite]

posted by I-Write-Essays at 4:10 PM on November 4, 2019

We have no way of knowing that dinosaurs were any smarter than chickens.

Chickens have a bird encephalization quotient (BEQ) of about 0.33, meaning that they have brains only about a third as large as you would expect for a bird of their size (based on fitting a curve to brain vs. body mass across all birds), so there's likely at least some truth to the idea that chickens are a bit on the dim side (however, birds as a whole are remarkably intelligent, so even chickens aren't as dumb as you probably think). But by comparison T-Rex is rather poorly endowed [pdf]: even with generous estimates of brain size, T-Rex doesn't quite hit 0.2 BEQ, and even the brainiest non-avian dinosaurs like Troodon are only approaching a BEQ of around 1 (that is, by bird standards, on brain size they would be merely average). In comparison, what we consider the smartest birds today (crows, parrots) have BEQs in the 2.5-3.0 range, in addition to simply packing in more neurons per gram of brain.

So on the whole, non-avian dinosaurs were likely less intelligent than chickens, with the exception of a few standouts that might be comparable to average intelligence birds like sparrows and pigeons. (Of course this is hundreds of millions of years of poorly-preserved prehistory, so it's entirely possible that some day we'll dig up an absurdly large-headed theropod clutching a stone spear).
posted by Pyry at 6:24 PM on November 4, 2019 [9 favorites]

We have 3 backyard chickens, which I bought off TradeMe like this guy. I paid $27 each for them as pullets and they have consistently laid an egg each almost every day for 9 months, including 2 double-yolkers! They are smarter than I had assumed, but they can still be quite dumb sometimes. I have sectioned off an area of the backyard with chickenwire to act as a run, and the coop is up against the boundary fence with the chickenwire fence attached to the middle of it, with one door of the coop inside the run and one outside so we can let them out into the main garden sometimes. When they are in the run and they see me walk up to open the "exterior" coop door, 2 of them are smart enough to realize that if they want to get out into the main garden (which they always do because it means access to the compost heap which is writhing with worms and other bugs) they need to backtrack around to the other side of the coop, go in the "interior" coop door, go through the coop (which involves going up a ramp into their roosting area) and then exit out the exterior door and down another ramp to the grass. The other one isn't quite smart enough to figure this out on her own. If she sees the other two running out she will follow them along this convoluted route, but if not (sometimes she is off doing her own thing when I open the door) she will just pace back and forth at the edge of the run, trying to find a direct route to the target through the chickenwire. So, I figure that the chicken intelligence bell curve is centered roughly on the level of "is able to solve simple path-finding problems" with some of them below that and some of the smarter ones above.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 7:36 PM on November 4, 2019 [4 favorites]

I paid $27 each

What? Surely that's a typo. They're less than a third of that at the feed store.
posted by fiercecupcake at 11:49 AM on November 6, 2019

Update: 1000 hens accidentally bought online likely plagued with diseases
What? Surely that's a typo
That's New Zealand pesos, so about USD $17. I've seen pullets sell for under NZD $20 online, but I bought from a local farm (Ohau) and they included salmonella and Marek's vaccinations. I wasn't buying in bulk so I didn't worry about it.
posted by L.P. Hatecraft at 1:42 PM on November 6, 2019 [2 favorites]

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