Tuesday, 3 February 2009

The Arrangement of Hens

The new hens still don't really have the going-to-bed bit sussed. Pre new-hen, shutting the hens up was a breeze. Popped up to put out corn while it was still light, and then popped up again an hour later; hens on the perch in a Matilda-between-the-bantams sandwich; bolt stable doors and that was that.

Not any more. OH built the new hens their own special perch, which, for a couple of nights they went on. Then Scrabbles, for some reason best known unto only herself, decided that any hen who joined her must be immediately barged off. The three originals found all this most amusing, until the others started joining them on their perch.

Several times I went up to shut the hens up, to find our three waiting for me in a corner of the stable, from where they would shoot out when I appeared, bobbing about with their heads stretching up and down in that henny way which means there's something they really want you to know about. When I looked, their perch was occupied. So, I would carefully remove the intruder hens back to their own perch, giving Scrabbles a firm talking to as I did so, though conscious all the time that though this might make me feel better it was having as much impact on Scrabbles as throwing individual grains of dust at her. I would then shoot out of the door as fast as humanly possible, and whip the light off before anyone could hop off the perch and start creating chaos.

So, yet another perch might be in order, we thought. OH duly constructed another perch, and for a couple of nights all was harmony, as Eponine and Clarrie, who do like to roost together, settled on the new perch, leaving poor Pandora to put up with Scrabbles.

Tonight I am beginning to wonder if nightly hen arrangement is going to be my lot in life. Eponine was in sole possession of the oldie's perch, while they and Pandora wandered about below like lost souls. It's a sort of henny chess, this. Every time we think we have it sorted, they try a new permutation. So, in I went, plonked Eponine next to Clarrie, and persuaded Pandora that Scrabbles was not a fate worse than death.

Poor Pandora. Though Scrabbles might not be intent on her virtue, she's not that kind to her. I am wondering now if I could broker some kind of entente between the old three and Pandora, though ironically enough Scrabbles is the hen with whom they get on best...... I wonder if all this might be a suitable preparation for a late career change to the Foreign Office, though I do wonder quite how I'd put it on my cv.

3 comments:

Val said...

A very entertaining description ... lol... no one could call hens boring...well not if they had anything to do with them..exasperating, impossible, annoying, entertaining..but not boring
Good luck with the night-time routine (after several years of keeping pet hens I can offer no useful advice except perhaps a large drink when you get back inside)
However any useful advice for keeping a six year old in her bed would be gratefully received..very gratefully received

Alison said...

Oh how lovely this made me laugh !!! I've currently got one of those modern eglu contraptions (I've always refused them pointblank because of cost and plus they look so "townie" !!) anyway after having rats eat the base and roof (yes the roof) of our original chicken shed some years ago and then last year eat their way into a lovely wooden ark that my FIL constructed for me, I decided to bite the bullet and have one of those eglu's ... I reckon they wont be able to chew on the plastic! I LOATHE rats with a vengeance !!!

Jane Badger said...

Val, hens are a walk in the park compared with a six year old. At least the hens shut up and settle down when the light goes off!


Alison - I quite like the look of the eglu! Before we got the hens daughter and I spent many happy hours looking at their site, before it occurred to us that converting the stable would be cheap as chips! We're just very lucky to have outbuildings. Like you, I'm loathe rats. I always have rat poison about but I'm convinced they've set up residence in the compost heap.