In the past, I've had occasion to live in a rural setting with farm critters roaming about. Last time I was down on the farm, was in Australia in 2003. I stayed with an earthworm entrepreneur (I'm so not making this up) at his drafty, sprawling, ranch house 17 miles outside of Perth. He owned chickens (which he neglected), six sheep, a spoiled ugly pitbull and a lovely cat named Bella. There were also emus -- we called them Emu Raiders -- who lumbered into the yard late at night and destroyed clothes lines and trampled laundry. Occasionally they devastated the passionfruit vines and devoured the tomatoes.
But the chickens were the best. They began making that weird groaning noise every morning at 5 a.m. They provided eggs and were diligent bug killers. When I was working in the garden, (which was pretty extensive), they would follow me and if I came across a huntsman spider or a Madagascar cockroach, they would run over and dutifully kill and eat it. One of the chooks as they say in Oz, used to follow me around the neighborhood when I went for walks. She would trail behind me clucking worriedly. It was cute.
I really miss the eggs. And the poultry companionship.