Hens behaving badly

May 31, 2008 § Leave a comment

We’re about to shift the girls from their current location onto the back veggie bed for winter. This has involved making another modular extension for the Summer Palace. We plan(ned) to join the two back beds together, to make one, long bed that the girls could enjoy through winter while the rest of the garden recovers.

Except, the back of the bed is reasonably close to the orchard fence. Not (quite) too close for us to be able to get access to the nestbox. (Brilliant!) But quite definitely too close for us to be able to open the house’s back door. Which is fairly important for things like mucking out. And getting Bessie up onto a perch at night. (Bugger!)

So today we have been alternating between carpentry (making the extension) and heavy labour, shifting the back veggie beds sixty vitally important centimetres further forward.

Because the beds are built up (with a single layer of concrete building blocks), this meant digging a channel for the new line of blocks; ramming the soil to get it level; adding more soil; ramming it again; checking the line of blocks for height and placement; and digging it all out again because I’ve angled too far inwards.

The front line of the new bed was behind the current location of the Summer Palace. Bessie, Frida and Claire were all possibles for laying. And every damn one of the chickens decided that what I was doing was a:weird, b:threatening, and c: fascinating. So Frida and Bessie spent a good three hours going in and out of the house and nestbox, bitching like their bums were on fire. Eventually Bessie did lay her egg, so I had a look to see what Frida was up to (she’d been quiet for a few minutes). And saw her, crouched underneath the tangle of hopvines, with an egg. Muppet that she is, she’d decided that the bush was better than the nestbox.

The Claire started her pre-laying fuss. This has been known to go on for anything up to five hours before any egg gets laid. I usually just close the windows and ignore her. But for some reason, she also decided that the nestbox was possessed by evil. So around 4pm I saw her in the orchard, drawbridge well down, attempting to burrow under Poppy. And yes, she laid her egg just there, just then. In the orchard. In plain view. (Although she seemed under the impression that having her head hidden from sight was enough.

Argh!!!

Tomorrow they are not getting let out until I have seen an egg from everyone who may even vaguely possibly lay one.

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