Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Autumn Falls

Now that a good week has gone by, we are all settling down with our new flock. Gladys and Hilda have been out in a fenced off pen and getting their first taste of the great outdoors. The girls have shown minimum interest in the newcomers, with only Purdy really trying to stake her claim in the existing pecking order. Understandably, as bottom hen, she is not keen on any newbies rising above her in the chain of command. She can be seen strutting around the perimeter of the enclosure, puffing her chest out and grumbling. For the most part, Gladys and Hilda ignore her.

Maeve watched from a distance for the first day, and on the second sauntered over to flex her ASBO muscles. She was intrigued by Gladys, the anti-ASBO, with her curling feathers. Sensibly, Gladys refused to make eye contact and kept her head down. When her attention shifted to Hilda, however, there was an interesting development. Hilda was sat comfortably against the netting, which to be honest was a schoolboy error. Maeve glided up behind her, and gave an experimental peck. This was the equivalent of the school bully tapping you politely on the shoulder before punching you in the face. Hilda surprised us both, however, by reacting instantly and aggressively. Hackle feathers up, she rounded on Maeve and pecked back. Both birds jumped apart and regarded each other solemnly. After several moments, Maeve sauntered away. Interesting. Hilda went back to sunbathing, seemingly untroubled.

Mabel, our illustrious leader, is in full moult. The garden resembles an explosion in a pillow factory. Not to be out done, when I opened the coop this morning I found Maude sitting on a pile of her own rapidly dropped fluff. Where the Mille's lead the way, the others will certainly follow. I predict that I will spend most of the autumn picking up handfuls of feathers in an attempt to stop the ever tolerant husband wailing in dispair.

And that was the summer.

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