Next week, we are finally having a patio laid. This means that from this weekend onwards, for several days, the girls will be confined to the Convent again. Mindful of just how spoilt they are, and used to roaming the garden at will during daylight, I am trying to get them used to their limited free ranging in the future. They are not impressed with this change in regime.
This morning, I awoke to Margot shrieking her head off. Determined to brazen it out, I ignored her weird honking calls while at the same time hoping fervently that none of the neighbours would end up on my doorstep with a meat cleaver. After ten minutes or so, she fell silent. Crouching beneath the upstairs bedroom window, I cautiously peered above the window sill. All six hens were crowded against the mesh, peering back at me (I really must find a different vantage point. They expect me now. Also, I should probably look at my 'sneaking up on windows to peer at chickens' behaviour. I'm reasonably sure that if anyone else saw me doing it, they'd have me committed) We stared at each other for a moment, and then as one they all took up the 'let us out!' call. Sheepishly sloping off, I listened to the racket continue for a few minutes before silence once again fell. I imagine them having an impromptu meeting at this point, to work out which of them was most annoying. Margot won hands down, having taken this prestigious place in the pecking order from the gobby Doris. What Margot lacks in shrillness (always Doris's forte), she more than makes up for in sheer volume.
So, Margot took up the war cry. She screamed for a few minutes, then fell silent (presumably to regroup) before starting again. After twenty minutes of this torturous racket, I snapped. She was in full song as I opened the back door, then immediately fell silent. With resignation, I trudged to the run and released the baying hordes. They muttered as they filed past me, no doubt congratulating themselves on a well fought campaign.
I am left with the uneasy feeling that I have been...trained.