Wednesday, 6 March 2013

Just one more minute. Please?

Checking that Joe's new vegetable plot is
in the right place before he starts to dig.
It's becoming a bit of a habit to let the hens loose in the garden for some time each weekend. It's great fun to see them enjoying freedom from their muddy enclosure. The first time we tried it, they barely took in how much garden was available to them but now they're much more familiar with the space and tend to go straight for the grass under the bird feeders which gets covered with seed. Yum yum yum.

Getting the girls back into their run after such an excursion isn't as hard as you'd think due to their great weakness for corn. They're well trained to come running at the rattle of the corn tin and so we can lead them across the garden like the pied piper. A few handfuls of corn thrown into the run area and they're straight inside to get their beaks on such goodies. Easy.

This Saturday however I had no such luck. They'd been loose all morning, but we wanted to go out for the afternoon. I went out armed with the tin of corn and gave it a good shake. Three chickens came running. I led them across the garden planning to round up the stray later and threw a handful of corn into the run. Two chickens went in to investigate. Typical.

So, with Lemon and Pepper busy stuffing their faces, I turned my attention to Frog. Frog seemed to have twigged that this whole corn malarkey was a trick, and much as she wanted to have her share there was no way she was going through the door to get at it! We're starting to get well practised at herding hens and the trick is to keep your arms outstretched - they will run away from both hands at once and so by bringing one hand or the other closer in you can direct them where you want to go. A couple of runs back and forth with little Frog and I finally persuaded her to join the larger two. Now, where had Fizzy got to?

Fizzy was having a bath - a dust bath to be precise - and wanted to finish it before going home if I didn't mind. I did mind. I wanted my lunch and I wasn't going to wait around for Fizzy to finish her bath. Knowing that Fizzy can be the most flighty of the flock I started to move slowly towards her hoping she'd get up and start to run away from me and towards the coop. She ignored me completely.

I got a little closer. She gave me a reproachful look and then continued her bath. This must be a really good bit of dust I thought as I took another step closer. Still she just watched me. So I picked her up to a very disgruntled squawk, carried her across the garden, popped her into the run, and shut the door quickly before they got any clever ideas of escaping again.

No comments:

Post a Comment