I waited all weekend for a dry spell so that I could dismantle the Convent and clean out the run, but it was only this morning that the weather obliged. I dutifully scrubbed, swept and shovelled out soggy easibed with a healthy measure of chicken poo. In order to get all of the bedding, it's necessary for me to get into the run. As the Convent is only four foot high, this can only be achieved by squatting and shuffling along like a crab. The girls are always intrigued by this. It perplexes them to be outside, while the human is in the cage. At some point, I expect to hear the bolt slide home as they deduce a way to lock me in. This might sound paranoid, but I have long suspected that the stupidity of chickens might be over rated.
So, anyway, I was in the run doing my crab shuffle, and scooping the poop. Maeve watched me curiously from the doorway, and occasionally darted forwards to peck the stud on the pocket of my jeans. That'll show me who's boss. There isn't actually room to turn around in the Convent, so it's necessary to back out in crab fashion. In doing so, I managed to collide with the ramp to the coop, and fell inelegantly sideways. I found myself lying on my side, face pressed to the fairly fragrant concrete slabs of the run. I had fallen in such a way, that my knee was wedged against the bucket I was filling with manure, and my back was jammed against the weld mesh that makes up the Convent's sides. Oh dear.
While I viewed the situation from this unexpected angle, Maeve's head peered into view. She clucked at me questioningly. I rolled my eyes in a rubbish shooing gesture. She crept closer. I actually said the word 'Shoo!'. She cocked her head to one side, and walked a bit closer. I wriggled a bit, in an effort to unstick myself. Maeve jumped up onto my shoulder and peered into my ear, muttering quite loudly (from my perspective, anyway). I shook my shoulder, in an effort to unperch her. She squawked with displeasure, and then plucked a strand of hair from my head before legging it out of the Convent and haring off down the garden.
At this point, the shock from my fall had passed and I managed to free myself from the run. Creakily, I unfolded myself from the floor and shuffled out into the daylight. Maeve was running laps, a long brown hair in her beak, and a look of triumph in her eyes.
I'm going to keep an extra careful eye on that hen.