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Script 51.7

Script

Characters

Bessy, a dairy cow
Lulu, a chicken
Narrator

Narrator:
It’s a pleasant morning in Cowtown. The sun is shining and the grass is sweet. But Bessy the cow is not happy. Let’s listen as she complains to her friend Lulu the chicken.

SOUND EFFECTS CHICKEN AND COW NOISES

Bessy
It’s always the same, Lulu, night after night. I can’t sleep. I can’t eat. I get no satisfaction in anything I do.

Lulu
Why? What’s bothering you, my dear?

Bessy
It’s these ticks. They’re driving me crazy. I can swat some of them away with my tail. But they get in my ears, and I can’t reach them. They suck my blood and make me feel sick. I’m too young to die.

Lulu
Ticks, did you say? You mean those tiny brown bugs? The ones that crawl under your hair and all over your skin?

Bessy
Yes, those are the ones. The farmer has sprayed me and dipped me, but they keep coming back. And all that spraying and dipping gives me a headache. Not to mention that the farmer can’t afford it.

Lulu
Well, why didn’t you tell me before, old friend? I like ticks.

Bessy
What do you mean you like them? Do you enjoy pain that much?

Lulu
No, I enjoy eating ticks. All chickens eat ticks. They are absolutely delicious.

Bessy
You have got to be kidding.

Lulu
No, I’m not kidding, my dear. In fact, I have an idea. Why don’t I move in right next to you? Then, every morning I can snatch those delicious little creatures right off your hide. I can probably eat 200, maybe 300 of them every hour.

Bessy
You care about me that much?

Lulu
No, Bessy, I’m not doing this for you _ it’s for my own pleasure. I’ll eat all the ticks you can give me. But I have one request.

Bessy
What’s that, Lulu?

Lulu
Tell the farmer to stop dipping you with chemicals. Otherwise I’ll be poisoned. I could die!

Bessy
Okay, no chemicals. But wait a minute. Are you saying you want to live inside my pen?

Lulu
No, I’ll have my nest box in a little walkway with some other chickens, just next to you. The farmer can make a little gate to let us in for a couple of hours every morning. And a couple of hours in the afternoon.

Bessy
I think you’re crazy. But if it works for you, it solves my problem too. You eat all the ticks and I won’t have any more problems.

Lulu
Sorry, Bessy, I can’t promise to catch all of them. It’s a good idea for the farmer to hand-pick the ticks, too.

Bessy
Are there any other things the farmer should do?

Lulu
Cows get a lot of ticks from grazing in infested pastures. You’ll probably have less ticks if you stay in one place, and the farmer brings your food to you.

Bessy
That sounds like good advice. By the way, Lulu, can you help me with another problem?

Lulu
What’s that, Bessy?

Bessy
Flies. They drive me crazy too.

Lulu
Well, I have a few cousins who are ducks. Did you know that ducks like eating flies? Maybe my cousins would like to move in too.

Bessy
I’ll be surrounded by birds! But if you can get rid of the ticks and the flies, I’ll be happy. Now if we can just convince the farmer. If the farmer is smart, he will see that this is the perfect solution!

Narrator
As Lulu says, chickens do like to eat ticks. And ducks like to eat flies. So, if you have a problem with ticks or flies, chickens and ducks can help you out. Chickens can eat 200 ticks per hour. This can save you the money you spend on pesticide dips. So, take a tip from Lulu and Bessy – cows, chickens and ducks can be good friends.

Acknowledgements

Written by Vijay Cuddeford, Writer, Farm Radio Network. Reviewed by Dan Gudahl, Director, Africa Program, Heifer Project International.

Information Sources

  • Chickens Take the Place of Drugs,” by David Dixon, Farming World, #1687, September 9, 1991, pages 5-6. BBC World Service, Science, Industry and Export Unit, 630 SE Bush, PABX 2471, London, United Kingdom.
  • Beating the deadly tick,” International Agricultural Development, May/June 1996, Vol 16, No.3, page 23. Research Information Ltd., 222 Maylands Avenue, Hemel Hempstead, Hertfordshire HP2 7TD, United Kingdom.
  • Chickens tackle ticks“, Spore, #64, July/August 1996, page 8. Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation, Postbus 380, 6700 AJ Wageningen, The Netherlands.
  • Poultry in Tick Control on Cattle“, by Laura S. Meitzner and Martin L. Price, Amaranth to Zai Holes, pages 253-254. ECHO, 17430 Durrance Road, North Fort Myers, FL 33917-2239, USA.