Now that Maeve is in the Convent with the other girls, I have been leaving the pop hole open so that should they decide to attempt chickenicide she can escape into the run. This has worked well for the last week or so, so last night I thought nothing of leaving this arrangement in place.
This morning, I was woken at 6am by an almighty racket. I assumed it was Doris making an egg announcement, but blearily made my way down to hush them. The neighbours have been fab about the chooks, but I could see this dawn chorus ending in complaints. I shuffled out in the early morning sunshine to the coop, and opened the door. All of the girls bar Maeve were sitting on the floor, silent. Maeve was doing her best road runner impression around the run, obviously thinking that I'd come down to let them out. I sleepily muttered a 'shush!' then went back to bed.
At a more respectable hour, when I was a lot more with it, I went out to open the run. That's when I noticed that the side gate was unlocked, and open. This was my over sight, as the kids were playing out and I was too lazy to keep opening the front door to them. Coupled with having an old friend stay over with a bottle of wine, I completely forgot to secure the side gate. Looking back into the run, I suddenly realised that there were quite a lot of feathers blowing about, including a beautiful flight feather which could only have come from Maude.
With a sudden feeling of dread, I opened the coop to do a head count. All girls were present and correct, and I could see no obvious damage to Maude. I suspect that either a cat, or a fox, wandered into the garden courtesy of the side gate early this morning, and that the commotion was an alarm call. In her panic, Maude has bashed herself about and torn out a good few feathers. That'll teach me to get too complacent.
On a happier note, Belinda has been granted an early release and has gotten over her broodiness. Mini will be occupying her cell by the end of today.
One problem with this gorgeous weather and free ranging chooks are the flies. I poo pick daily from the lawn and run, but the copious droppings in the flower beds are a little harder to access. There are now a cloud of vile blue bottles buzzing around the shrubbery. This is an untenable situation.
A solution must be found.