Not in my Lady’s chamber. Hah.

I actually won a round in the fight against my poultry today. I emerged victorious. Not unscathed: that would be too much to expect, but undeniably the winner. I had been starting to fear that I had met my intellectual match. It is now supper-time, and Mrs Goose has remained in the field where I shut her this morning for One Entire Day. Yay.

The thing about our poultry, you see, is that… well, firstly, they are MY poultry, according to hairy hubby. I cannot deny that I acquired the hens off my own bat with minimal notice, and then compounded the crime by adopting a pair of geese from next door (where the whole Gaggle social dynamic had turned ugly) without spousal consultation. John is not given over-much to sulking, but there were definitely mutterings.  Especially when it became apparent that he was firmly in the frame for letting out, shutting up, egg collection, feather trimming, stockholm tar applying, red mite annihilation & hen fencing. Still, the guy likes eggs, I rationalised.

The second thing about my poultry is that I rather fancied the idea of the hens being hefted. For non-farming types, I will explain that hefted livestock Know Their Place and stay on their unfenced patch. http://www.cprw.org.uk/pdfs/summer05_ruralskills.pdf And for a while, they obliged me. Problems occurred when they began abandoning our garden scrub in favour of the coiffered lawns next door. Next door are delightful doctors with whom we are bosom, but they own a gardener called Happy, because he never is. Happy is unfond of hens when they are excavating his freshly dug beds. Complaints were tentatively made, and the Hairy Farmer Family rushed to erect proper hen fencing. Which kept the blasted bunch in for, umm, about a day. One by one, they all learnt to squeeze or flap to freedom, leaving my pretty, but distinctly burly, Golden Brahma all on her tod. 

 

I then heard that Happy had threatened to down tools. So, we blocked up the tiny holes. And I thoroughly denuded all my ladies of their flight feathers on one wing. Colonel Mustard, the fine cockerel shown above, had died (quite happily, whilst running to scoff grain) some days previously, and one of next door’s cockerels had quickly spotted the vacancy. I felt a bit diffident about trimming his feathers in case I was required to return him, so left him unravaged. This was an error, as he continued to fly over & parade about the wrong side of the fence clucking pour encourager les autres. One by one, his ladies, by dint of herculean flapping, joined him. Except Mrs Brahma, who’s going nowhere, ever, with that bum on her. Mrs Goose, who had hitherto been nicely ensconced in her field during the day (my original pair produced two goslings monikered Smokey & Bandit; I was meant to despatch said goslings at Christmas but was firstly too soft hearted, then missed the appointment with travelling death squad, then they were so grown up I couldn’t tell ’em all apart, yadda yadda yadda, anyway there’s four of them now) decided that the laying season had come again, and that she had a desperate need to break back into hen Colditz, where her hut is.  

So, 7 hens, assorted geese & an itinerant cockerel were all out & about again. Happy withdrew his labour when, upon being assured by the Delightful Doctors that the problem had been dealt with, he re-commenced his spadework, whereupon all my escapee hens came & stood around his feet, clucking impatiently for worms. The eighth lonely Brahma could be heard squawking disconsolately in the hen enclosure.

Delightful Next Doors appeared the next day with an early anniversary present of a solar panel & politely mentioned electric fencing. Hubby duly electrified the fencing. This restrained every hen except one, who, after 24hrs to (I presume) dig her escape tunnel, made her appearance on the kitchen window during Harry’s lunchtime, much to his fascination & my wrath. 

That evening, John stripped her of virtually every feather she owned. I can’t help but feel it may be a long cold spring for her, but her loss is Happy’s gain, and as I write, the hens have all been imprisoned a whole week without incident. Mrs Goose & partner, however, have continued to escape from their field, managing this so sneakily that we have been unable to find out quite how they do it. The two geese left behind can’t figure it out either. Mrs G’s chosen consort, we fear, is no longer her original partner, but… gulp… her progeny. She has switched allegiance in horrifyingly Greek fashion. She & Bandit have done Bad Things. We are rather taken aback by this Thing That Should Not Be, and feel it needs sharply discouraging. Hence we have firmly ushered the eloping couple back into their field every day this week. And every afternoon. Etc.

Today, though, I saw the escape in progress, and bustled out during one of Harry’s infrequent morning naps to reinforce the guilty section of gate. The fact that I slipped in the mud & lost my dignity & my shoe was, I felt, acceptable collateral damage. I was smug. And I’ve continued self-satisfied all day: the creatures with the tiny tiny brains were finally where I put them. Victory was mine.

Past tense. I paused typing a paragraph back in order to apply child to his cot . I took a look outside when I came back down.

The bugger’s out again.

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4 Responses

  1. I’m entranced by your writing and loving this blog. Please do keep writing. Your quip about Mrs G’s switching allegiance in Greek fashion had me laughing here at work. (Here from the Lost & Found at Stirrup Queens)

  2. Oooo, a reader, Hello! I shall try not to disappoint!
    A

  3. […] on… but probably not far enough… I have previously mentioned the worrisome Greek Thing That Should Not Be that has emerged among our geese gaggle. The horror […]

  4. […] evening and consequently delved into my archives, may remember I experienced some ickiness regarding the incestous nature of my tiny gaggle last year. Spring is perceptibly just around the […]

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